Newsletter: In the Shadow of A War

Illustration map of the Barents region.
Last year, Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm went on "The High North Tour 2021" in the shadow of the pandemic. Now, he embark on "The High North Tour 2022" in the shadow of a war. History must be told from the North too. (Illustration map of the Barents region made by artist Line Marie Syverinsen for The Norwegian Barents Secretariat in 2021).

Dear reader! Last winter, the HNN Editor-in-Chief traveled Northern Norway in a mobile home office in the shadow of the pandemic. Now, he is embarking on a new High North Tour, this time in the shadow of a war hardly anyone saw coming. This week’s newsletter also covers Nordic defense crisis spendings and a vulnerable story about cross-border friendship.

This week, the Nordic countries appeared to reawaken after the shock and numbness following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One after the other, the Nordic state leaders went to the media announcing extraordinary allocations to bolster their own defenses.

After three weeks of war, the West starts realizing that its security, too, can be under threat, and the Norwegian Defense Commission Wednesday held an extraordinary meeting in relation to the war.

The Norwegian government now asks for three more billion kroner to bolster the Armed Forces (Norwegian only), a measure deemed by the Norwegian Defense Minister earlier this week as utterly necessary.

Even before the war in Ukraine was launched, it was clear that the Norwegian Armed Forces were not equipped for a crisis and war. (Norwegian only)

And the Swedish government strengthens the Swedish defense with nearly SEK 3 billion in 2022.


The West has also realized that the accumulated reactions against Russia have not had the desired effect so far.

However, the sanctions against Russian vessels may become a burden for the fisheries cooperation, says researcher Andreas Østhagen to High North News.

The High North Tour 2022

However, in the shadow of war, sanctions and defense, there are people who more than anything want to live in peace with their neighbors. And these are the people our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm now hits the road to find.

Last winter, I traveled Northern Norway for three months. It was a journey in the shadow of the pandemic. Now, I start a new tour under the label of “The High North Tour”. This time, in the shadow of a war”, Holm writes in this week’s commentary.

Both Holm and the staff staying at home are grateful that you will follow him along the road in High North News’ very own mobile office van.

Side by side

While other borders are closed, Russians and Ukrainians live side by side in Svalbard.

HNN’s Svalbard reporter Line Nagell Ylvisåker has met the people who first and foremost are neighbors and friends:

When the people fighting are the ones you have had beer with, sat face to face with a million times, it hits you in a different way” says Sergey Chernikov from Russia.

A story of hope towards the end of this week.

Another unintended consequence of the war is simply a narrowing security policy debate climate.

Norwegian security policy debate needs diversity of opinion and more contributors. However, the current particularly sharpened debate amongst researchers may scare off new and in particular young potential debate participants”, researcher and officer Gjert Lage Dyndal says in an interview with High North News.

Next week, Arne O. Holm is heading north, to Kirkenes, so do follow us for updates both at High North News and our social media channels in the coming days. Feel free to tip us!

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