Newsletter: A Powerful Eastern Neighbor to a Future Waste Land

Bodøsjøen. Bodø. Kyst. Snø. Brygge. Vinter.
It is the High North about seen as a frozen waste land lost of all opportunities, by the youth of the South? (Photo: Trine Jonassen)
Dear High North News reader! The relationship with our powerful eastern neighbor is diverse and complicated. And according to gloomy predictions about low birth rates and out-migration from the North, there are only a few years left until Russia hardly has any remaining Northerners to call their neighbor.

In March, we at High North News can mark almost a full year of working from our homes, with the notable exception of a few lovely weeks last fall. That leaves a mark on journalism and the way in which we in the media communicate news from the Arctic.

Arne O. Holm
Tided of the fortunetellers in suits: Editor in Chief of High North News, Arne O. Holm
Editor-in-Chief, Arne O. Holm.

When our eyes only gaze from one perspective, that also affects national news – even in a dangerous way, according to our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm:

"An almost year-long Corona pandemic, combined with a crazy American president, has affected our national media in a dangerous way. We know increasingly less about each other, perhaps with the exception of the local infection we might suffer from", Holm says and asks whether the High North is simply not interesting enough when the number of infections is low?

Security policy dialogue

The otherwise very social meeting arena The Kirkenes Conference ended up having to have a fully digital conference this year. Instead of countless small conversations all around Kirkenes, we had pre-taped interviews with foreign ministers and security policy leaders from the Nordics and Russia.

The interviews are nevertheless quite interesting and provide us with a long-desired insight into the thoughts that characterize security policy cooperation in the High North.

Forsvarssjef Eirik Johan Kristoffersen. (Foto: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvaret)
Forsvarssjef Eirik Johan Kristoffersen. (Foto: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvaret)
Norwegian Defense Chief Eirik Kristoffersen. (Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvaret).

Norwegian Defense Chief Eirik Kristoffersen stresses that for meetings between the Arctic Chiefs of Defense to resume, a political clarification would be required.

Strengthening defense

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended the Kirkenes Conference for the first time ever, and he focused on the Barents cooperation in his keynote address:

I hope that the Barents cooperation in the coming years will not only preserve its dynamic, but also expand when it comes to strengthening the European north, trust, stability and good neighborly relations.”

Yet despite statements about cooperation and dialogue, defense capacity in the Nordics is building up. Denmark strengthens its own defense capacity in the Arctic as Arctic sea ice diminishes while simultaneously, war researcher Danita C. Burke warns against the use of ‘Cold War’ language in the Arctic.

Amidst the talk of dialogue, nor does it go unnoticed that the Russian armed forces have started using a new runway in the Russian Arctic.

There is also tension between the EU and Norway as Norway Objects to the EU’s Granting Cod Quotas in the Svalbard Zone.

All this, and much more, you can read about at High North News.

We wish you all the best for your weekend, wherever you are! And do let us know what you want to read about.

Trine Jonassen,
News Editor, High North News