Traditionally the cooperation has been more intensively developed with the neighboring municipalities. So, the cooperation of Vyborg and Lappeenranta officially started in 1987, when the first agreement on cooperation of two neighboring border cities was signed. But, the background of long lasting relations was formed even earlier, during the years of reconstruction of the Saimaa Channel (1963). At that time, the side by side work of
Russian and Finnish construction workers helped to establish good friendly links that afterwards were supported by Finnish-Soviet societies of friendship in both countries.
Cooperation between Vyborg and Lappeenranta has been changed since that time substantially, starting from exchange visits of high officials, cultural groups and school students, through humanitarian aid for social needs to mutual projects.
One of the last projects, that united together two cities is “Northern dimension: Step up: Cross border City in action”. The idea of the project emerged from the mutual perspectives of sustainable social development of the border territories and the need to integrate individuals, institutions, public bodies representing social sector from both cross border partner- cities. Partner cities are committed to make their cities more attractive to live, work and visit. The project is using the experience and knowledge of specialists, divided into action groups, (Sport, Culture, Education and youth policy), each implementing internal and external collaboration aiming at meeting common needs and targets for the further development of the region.
The duration of the project is 36 months, the project activities are implemented on both sides of the Russian-finish border territory, that covers the municipalities of Vyborg region , Lappeenranta, Imatra and Joutseno.
Effective cooperation between partners and intercultural communication in everyday life are vital not only to the success of the project, but to further collaboration of the neighboring regions.
Before each New Year on the border of Russia and Finland meet Russian Father Frost from the Great Ustyug and the Finnish Joulupukki.
The meeting is held in the framework of the project “Christmas without Borders”, whose participants are children and adults on both sides of the border.
Due to the joint work of Russian and Finnish organizations in Vyborg, near the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, there is a monument to Mikael Agricola – the founder of the Finnish written language, educator and peacemaker. Agricola’s life was associated with Vyborg, where he studied and lived for more than two decades.
The first monument to Agricola was opened in Vyborg in 1908.