Newsletter: The Arctic in a Tight Spot

Asle Toje in a panel discussion on Norway's place and opportunities in a new world with Lise Rakner, professor of political science at the University of Bergen, Øyvind Østerud, professor of political science at the University of Oslo, and Cecilie Hellestveit, social scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Law. (Photo: Astri Edvardsen)

Dear reader. Should Norway give the US free reins or keep the door open to Russia? And what happens if the door is closed? This week, we learned that Norway's defense is not good enough and that no one can – or wants to – answer what will happen if Russia cuts the electricity at the border. Here is the week that passed in the north. 

Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm takes you to a place where few have been, namely the power station Norway shares with Russia.

"Eastern Finnmark is in the middle of a serious energy crisis. What few people know and even fewer wants to talk about is that Russia controls 1/4 of the energy supply on the Norwegian side. No one wants to answer what will happen if Russia decided to turn off the lights in Finnmark," writes Holm in this news analysis from the Russian border.  

Poorly prepared 

This week, we also learned that Norway's defense is not good enough as the Defence Analysis of 2023 was presented.

 While the Nordic region is moving towards NATO, the Director of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute believes that we must lean more on the US and take a look at how we are willing to "sweeten the deal". 

American bases – or whatever you would like to call them – were a topic during the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs' conference last week, where journalist Astri Edvardsen was present. 

And the US is training in the north. Next week, the 11th Airborne Division will conduct its annual regional combat training center exercise in Alaska. 

Russia and China

Russia continues to pivot to China for an Arctic economic partnership. 

As a result of sanctions, western dredging operators have withdrawn from Russia raising questions if shipping routes can be maintained. 

Svalbard news  

Recently, several Norwegian Storting representatives from the Progress Party advocates that the government should postpone the implementation of the recently proposed environmental regulations on Svalbard. 

The Supreme Court of Norway delivered a historic judgment in the case of snow crab fishing and the geographical scope of the Svalbard Treaty. 

Read about this and more at High North News. 

Next week, the Norwegian MFA presents highlights for the Norwegian chairmanship of the Arctic Council in Tromsø, followed by a meeting of the Arctic seven in Anchorage. High North News will be there with the latest news. 

Now, all that remains is to wish you a very good weekend on behalf of the editorial staff. 

Sincerely, News Editor Trine Jonassen.

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.