The Baltic Sea is one of the most severely polluted water bodies on earth, with stressors resulting from anthropogenic pressures of 85 million inhabitants in nine coastal countries. All are members of the European Union (EU) with the exception of Russia. This exception poses challenges for governing the Sea, as Russia is excluded as a member country from EU Baltic Sea governing policies, such as the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). This added complexity has led to the emergence of new forms of cooperation to include Russia in the governing process. One such initiative is the Turku process, an initiative by the cities of Turku (Finland), Hamburg (Germany), and St. Petersburg (Russia) to promote cooperation, especially with Russian partners. Since its emergence in 2010, there has been no study of it in the literature. This study aims to bridge this gap by analyzing the history and evolution of the Turku process under the lens of experimentalist governance. It aims to illustrate the experimentalist governance perspective through the Turku process and to present the theoretical foundations of the concept. It does the former through key informant interviews with main actors in the Turku Process and the latter with the help of the literature on experimentalist governance. This study adds to the dialogue on governance in an especially challenging time when the Ukraine crisis has negatively impacted EU–Russia relations.
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