News

Dec 17, 2016

- a course about contemporary art, critical art and the freedom of speech for artists from Norway and in Russia.

Dec 17, 2016
As reported by colleagues from the Barents Secretariat, it has been decided to invite 10 Russian journalists to the Norwegian town of Kirkenes for the legendary art festival Barents Spektakel.
Nov 25, 2016

The theme of the meeting: Is there a crisis in modern journalism? Time: November 26, from 10:00 to 12:00.. Admission is free, registration is not required.

Apr 22, 2016
Mar 25, 2016
 

Spitsbergen - polar bridge between East and West

Jun 30, 2016


There are no blueberries or cloudberries or cranberries , or other familiar to us northern berries on the polar archipelago of Svalbard. The islands are located just a thousand miles from the North Pole and they are not very suitable for life. But over the past five centuries the Russian coast-dwellers, the Dutch, the British and the Scandinavians tried to settle there.


 

However, in 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty was signed in Paris. It secured the Arctic archipelago of Norway's sovereignty and at the same time gave the right to all the signatories of this document keep their economic and scientific activities . Since then more than 50 states have joined the Treaty and the last one (in the beginning of this year) was North Korea.

In early May, a group of journalists from Russia, Norway and Finland had a unique opportunity to visit the Arctic archipelago and to learn how present "conquerors of the North" live and work. Journalistic expedition to Spitsbergen was organized by Barents Press  Norway and it was attended by representatives of the three Russian regions - Karelia , Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions.

One of the main topics of this trip was "fish conflict" in the region of Spitsbergen. After Norway in 1977 had set 200-mile fishery protection zone around the Arctic archipelago fishermen from Russia and other countries actually turned to be "persona non grata " in this area. Authoritative Russian expert in the field of fisheries , the former Deputy Minister of Fisheries of the USSR Professor Vyacheslav Zilanov - who accompanied the journalists expedition - participated in the discussion of controversial issues.

"There are points of tension and it is necessary to get these points down, but not by means like "I'm right and you're wrong" but by seeking mutual compromise solutions that would not destroy fish stocks but preserve them and would allowed to observe the rules of fishing , and the penalties would comply with justice and misconduct " , - said Vyacheslav Zilanov.

Members of the expedition also visited the coal mines, made ​​the 70- kilometer trek by snowmobile from the administrative center of the archipelago , the Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen, to the Russian Barentsburg to compare life in different localities of Spitsbergen. It’s important to note that Norway and Russia are two countries that invest the most amount of money in their presence on Svalbard. Today there is no economic benefit in it: coal mining in the Arctic Archipelago is loss-making, fishery near the islands is prohibited , and tourism here was got active development less than two decades ago. However, judging by the number of countries that signed the Spitsbergen Treaty no one refuses the development prospects of the Arctic Archipelago in the future. Many experts attribute this to the new transport routes - both marine and air.

But, according to a well-known Norwegian journalist and researcher of Spitsbergen Arne U'Holm who has been exchanged successful career in Oslo dangerous arctic adventure, polar archipelago can be a bridge between East and West , because the main wealth of the North are people who live there.

Valery Potashov

Photos by the author

Translated by Tatiana Polkova

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