Newsletter: The Land of Contrasts

Lena Norum Bergeng. Foto Hogne Bø Pettersen, NOS.
Mayor of the border municipality Sør-Varanger in Northern Norway, Lena Norum Bergeng (Labour), gave an emotional speech at the Kirkenes Conference 2022 on the fatal Thursday the war in Ukraine was a fact, where she emphasized the importance of friendship with the Russian people. (Photo: Hogne Bø Pettersen/The High North Center for Business and Governance)

Dear reader; while the war is raging in Europe and the West is showing its muscles in the North, the friendship between the people in the Arctic is a hot topic. At the same time, investments are being made in the Norwegian industry. Even in times of crisis, life does not stop. Here is the week as seen from the North.

After Tromsø municipality in Northern Norway ended its friendship agreement with three Russian cities, a somewhat heated debate followed in the media about Northern Norwegian cities’ relationship with Russia. So far, no other municipalities have chosen to follow Tromsø’s example: 

The border municipality Sør-Varanger in Northern Norway is keeping its friendship agreements with the Russian cities Petsjenga and Severomorsk, but the cooperation will still be on hold. 

"We do not sanction against the Russian people," says a Labour Party politician. 

A mayor of a North Norwegian border municipality is calling for national guidelines to ensure a more uniform treatment of friendship city agreements. 

"The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take action," says the mayor, who believes Putin is now achieving exactly what he wants; division. 

In other news from the world of politics, the Faroese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jenis av Rana, has been fired after numerous statements against queer people. Now, a new election will be held on the Faroe Islands. 

Investments and internet coverage 

Starlink internet arrived across large parts of the North American and European Arctic last week. Additional service expansion will come in early 2023 for near-complete coverage of the Arctic, outside of Greenland and Russia.

The Swedish mining company LKAB is not kicking back these days. 

The company just announced that it will become the main owner of the Norwegian company REEtec. Together, the companies will create a base for a Nordic value chain for rare earth metals. 

The mining company also invests SEK 500 million in the Port of Narvik in Northern Norway. 

"This investment is extremely important for the future of the port," says the Senior Project Leader at LKAB in Narvik. 

New weapons 

This week, American special forces have been training in the North, and on Wednesday they performed the European premiere of a new weapons system at Andøya in Northern Norway. 

The exercise is clearly aimed at Russia and intended to deter expansionist behavior. 

Feel free to follow us on social media and let us know what you would like to read more about at 

Wishing you a good weekend on behalf of the editorial staff, 

News Editor Trine Jonassen 

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen