Newsletter: Norway's Squeeze between Russia and NATO

Utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldt sammen med Russlands utenriksminister Sergej Lavrov
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the Barents Council's ministerial meeting. (Photo: Hilde-Gunn Bye).

Dear reader! What do you do when you find yourself in a squeeze between big powers and you depend on having a good relationship with both? That was the demanding task assigned to Norway’s newly appointed Foreign Minister during her first meeting with her Russian counterpart. We also highly recommend a brand new feature story from Svalbard, and a whole lot more.

Last Monday, High North News’ journalist Hilde Bye was in Tromsø to cover the first foreign minister meeting between Norway and Russia under the new government led by Jonas Gahr Støre.

Or rather, Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt hosted the Barents Council Ministerial Meeting.

Nevertheless, her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dominated the news, also at High North News. And rightly so, as Russia recently suspended its presence at NATO.

“Norway is a member of NATO. NATO is no friend of Russia” was the clear message brought by the Russian foreign minister. However, he was also clear that the relationship with Norway is alive and kicking also when it comes to security politics.

Disagreements over security politics and NATO aside; cooperation with Russia contributes to Norway’s peace project in the High North, Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stressed in an interview with High North News.

Nevertheless; “Russia is a dilemma to NATO”, Jan Gunnar Winther at the Center for Ocean and the Arctic concludes together with former University of Tromsø Rector Anne Husebekk (Norwegian only).

It will be interesting and exciting to see how Norway will manage the situation from here, wedged between NATO and Russia. The topic has also stirred strong reactions among our readers.

Do they know what they want with the High North?

Now that we once again are out and about in the world again – often through our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm – it is clear that “everybody” wants something with the High North.

“But do they know what they really want?” Holm asks himself, sitting at a sidewalk restaurant in the eternal city, Rome/Italy, after participating at yet another Arctic seminar.

“Is it possible at all to find a pattern behind the pompous words embracing people and business in the Arctic? I have been traveling the north for some time now, and I doubt their will less than their abilities”, our Editor-in-Chief concludes in this week’s Friday commentary.

Svalbard for Norwegians?

For your weekend coffee this week, we serve a gem from our Svalbard reporter Line. She has delved deep into the new government’s plans for the unique archipelago where foreigners risk losing their local right to vote, protection of nature increases and limitations are placed on requirements to safe travel.

Local actors are swamped with hearings and fear for their future.

A longread feature worth noting.

In Svea, all traces of human activity are removed from the former mining community in Svalbard (Norwegian only). The story also includes a link to a beautiful feature from the liquidation process around the abandoned mine.

In addition, you can find news large and small, op-eds and other good stuff at High North News.

Feel free to share our newsletter and tip us off about what you want to read more about.
Enjoy the final weekend of October; see you again in November!

Kind regards,
Trine Jonassen,
News Editor, High North News