Norwegian may be new victim of old Arctic sovereignty game

You’ll have discovered that Norway has an Arctic thriller on its palms.  In response to a narrative by the Washington Submit’s Moscow bureau chief, Anton Troianovsky, an apparently upstanding Norse citizen from the far north Barents Sea port city of Kirkenes, 15 miles from the Russian border, was arrested in December in Moscow by the FSB, Russian safety police. He’s imprisoned, accused of being a spy. When arrested he was carrying an envelope containing three,000 Euros and, say FSB officers, letters with espionage directions.

The Norse citizen, Frode Berg, is a sixty two-yr previous retired border inspector. A resident since 1975, like many non-Natives Berg turned enamored with life within the north, and with its individuals. As Troianovsky tells it, the residents of Kirkenes haven’t seen themselves as geopolitical warriors. Through the years they’ve developed private and institutional ties with the Russians simply throughout the border. Whereas nonetheless an lively border agent, Berg helped organize cross-border ski races. An arts group in Kirkenes arranges exchanges with Russians in Nikel, an industrial city simply throughout the frontier. The Russians have been permitted to buy in Kirkenes, and Russian boats have frequented the Norwegian port.  In 2012 the 2 nations established a visa-free zone between the 2 cities and cross-border visitors has soared.

Whether or not Berg is a spy, only a hapless fellow taken benefit of, or the sufferer of an FSB set-up, nobody is aware of, and doubtless will not. Berg, who the individuals in Kirkenes say is probably the most unlikely spy, protests his innocence.

A yr in the past, U.S. army planners dispatched a number of hundred marines to Vaernes, farther south in Norway, for chilly climate coaching.  Vaernes is close to an underground Norwegian army provide cache that would provide almost 5,000 troops. Maybe probably the most believable rationalization for Berg’s arrest, some speculate, is Russia’s means of protesting this new American and NATO presence within the north.

A Norwegian tunnel in Kirkenes, close to the border with Russia. (Photograph for The Washington Publish by Ksenia Ivanova)

There are a selection of unsolved Arctic mysteries by means of the years, many involving sovereignty, and there’ll possible be extra. In 2016 Russian scientists re-assessed the World Struggle II German climate station in Franz Josef Land which they now assume might have been used to retailer treasure looted throughout Europe through the struggle. Final yr residents of Igoolik, on Foxe Basin north of Hudson Bay, between Baffin Island…

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