The article is devoted to the city pair of Blagoveshchensk (Russia) and Heihe (People’s Republic of China), the only city pair in Russian-Chinese borderland that describes itself with the term “twin-cities”. The current contribution reconstructs the history of appearance of the twin-cities concept in Russian-Chinese agenda. On the basis of interviews and questionnaires collected in the cities in question the paper examines specificity of understanding of “twin-cities” concept and its practical execution in the Asian context. Exploring the extent to which the twin-cities relations model is applicable to Russian-Chinese border cities, the author concludes that cooperation predominantly exists in a form of bilateral annual events in various spheres (culture, education, sport, etc.) and dialog between delegations of region’s/city’s representatives, not in a form of direct people-to-people or institution-to-institution cooperation. The lack of local initiatives to cooperate (almost zero-amount of initiatives not from region’s/city’s administrations) is named as a main drawback of Blagoveshchensk and Heihe relations. While planned character of cooperation makes the calendar of joint events stable and predictable, it also keeps Russian-Chinese cooperation staying on the ritual level and prevents it to become a necessary part of everyday life.
Proceedings of papers presented at the Joint Workshop on Borderlands Modelling and Understanding for Global Sustainability carried out under the auspices of three international associations of researchers: 1) ISPRS - International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing; 2) IGU - International Geographical Union; 3) ICA - International Cartographic Association.