Intercity economic networks under recession: Counterintuitive results on the evolution of Russian cities in multinational firm networks from 2010 to 2019
This study contributes to the debate on the impact of international shocks on the integration of national systems of cities into global economic networks. We examine how the crisis in Ukraine and the following economic sanctions of 2014 imposed on Russia affected the positions of Russian cities in global economic networks. To do so, we used worldwide data on the corporate networks of the largest multinational firms and their subsidiaries from 2010 to 2019 to create intercity linkages at both the global and national levels to show how Russian cities’ positions evolved during the period. The study shows that although the Russian cities’ position in the global network shrank (with a general decrease in Russian cities’ linkages), their internationalization increased despite the economic sanctions. The decrease in connectedness mostly concerned the intranational firm linkages between Russian cities, which could explain the increasing interregional inequalities in Russia observed by numerous scholars. In addition, contrary to the main arguments of the global cities approach, among the cities that were most resistant to crises were not only the largest and most diversified cities, as we would expect during such times of uncertainty, but also some highly specialized small towns.