Norway and Russia in the Arctic: New Cold War Contamination?

Julie Wilhelmsen Senior Researcher, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) Kristian Lundby Gjerde Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

[…] First, the policies pursued by one state are affected by the actions of the other party. As seen from Norway, Moscow’s actions in Ukraine played into representations of Russia as a potential threat, making the establishment of a stronger NATO footprint in the North appear a logical policy priority. In turn, such moves on the Norwegian side played into Russia’s already clearly articulated fears of such a footprint, spurring Moscow to step up what are presented as defensive military activities in the Arctic. Pointing out this negative spiral effect is almost banal from an analytical perspective, but it is politically controversial in the current public debate on Russia in Norway, as it is frequently mistaken as an attempt to apportion guilt among the parties. Our point here is to highlight that how Western states relate to Russia matters, and vice versa. With the current official representations of each other as potential threats in the Arctic, moves to strengthen one side’s defense will appear offensive from the other side, pushing the spiral upward, and drawing attention to security issues at the expense of other issue areas. Läs artikel