Sparks fly over Finnmark mining

While local elected officials were celebrating with cake, protests poured in over the Conservative state government’s decision on Thursday to finally allow mining operations on a mountain plateau in Finnmark. It’s expected to generate 300 new jobs in the area, but can also disrupt Samis’ reindeer grazing while dumping debris and tailings into the fjord […]

Lavrov likely to re-visit Finnmark next year

Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t expected to take part in next year’s 75th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Finnmark from Nazi German forces in 1944. His foreign minister Sergej Lavrov, however, is likely to attend, just like he did on the 70th anniversary in 2014. Northern Norway remains grateful to the Soviet Army for […]

Calls rise to invite Putin to Finnmark

Next fall marks the 75th anniversary of how Soviet forces liberated Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark from the clutches of Nazi German occupiers in 1944. Local officials are steadily being joined by other voices around the country in calling upon the Norwegian government to invite Russian President Vladimr Putin to join the solemn anniversary celebrations. […]

Finnmark’s fight repeats history

NEWS ANALYSIS: A fight over the future of Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark has hit fever pitch, with the local population battling a forced merger with neighboring Troms. A visit to an historic monument at the other end of the country shows how such struggles have gone on since Viking times, pitting the importance of […]

Huge majority votes against Finnmark-Troms merger

A referendum held during the past week in Norway’s northern-most county of Finnmark has resulted in fully 87 percent saying “no” to a pending merger with neighbouring Troms County. Even though the Parliament has decreed the merger, opposition parties are now calling on the government to halt the merger process. The referendum result came as […]

Finnmark fights forced merger

Residents of Norway’s northernmost county of Finnmark are so angry over the terms of a looming and likely forced merger with neighbouring Troms that they’ve threatened everything from civil disobedience to secession in recent months. Now they’re in the process of voting on the merger in a referendum, with the state government unlikely to respect […]

Dogsled champ hailed as ‘perfect’

Sigrid Ekran of Norway was being called “the perfect musher” after she outclassed all her competitors in last week’s grueling 1,100-kilometer dogsled race known as Finnmarksløpet.  It’s billed as the longest dogsled race in Europe and only for “the toughest of the tough.” Ekran was first to cross the finish line in Alta, back where […]

5,000 soldiers to train near Russia

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Norwegian military plans to send 5,000 soldiers to a major training exercise next month in the far northern county of Finnmark, which borders on Russia. Researchers think the exercise will be viewed as a Norwegian response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Newspaper Aftenposten reported that the Norwegian military […]

Northerners cling to open border

As Norwegian and Russian officials gather near their shared border in the northern Norwegian city of Kirkenes this weekend, local residents fervently hope they’ll “break the ice” and improve diplomatic relations. They don’t want anything to damage the good relations they’ve enjoyed for years themselves with their Russian neighbors. King Harald, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Foreign Minister Børge […]

Northern Norway’s grief remembered

Norway’s late King Olav V called it the greatest castastrophe in Norwegian history since the plague devastated the country in 1349. This week marks 70 years since the Norwegian liberation hopes raised by Soviet soldiers, who pushed occupying Nazi German forces out of Northern Norway in October 1944, turned to despair when the retreating Nazi troops responded by destroying […]