Spitsbergen or Svalbard? The Answer Includes both Politics and History, highnorthnews.com

Amund Trellevik, journalist

Russian authorities used the 100th anniversary for the signing of the Svalbard Treaty from 1920 to vocally attack Norway on how Norway manages the principle of equal treatment of signatory states on the archipelago.

In a letter from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide, he consequently refers to the archipelago as ‘Spitsbergen’ or ‘the archipelago’.

And not just that. In a written comment to the Norwegian economy web site E24, the Russian embassy explicitly asks that the area be referred to as ‘Spitsbergen’ in print.

“This is not just a name, it is also politics”, says Jørgen Holten Jørgensen. He currently works as Head of Administration at Berlevåg municipality in Troms and Finnmark, however, he is a former researcher and diplomat. […]

Moscow considers Norway’s introduction and expansion of protected nature areas on the archipelago as a threat to Russian business activity. This applies in particular to mining, but there is also fear that the so far limited Russian tourism in the old mining communities will be threatened by an expansion of the Norwegian protection regulations.

Russia has also objected against restrictions on the use of helicopter. Today, helicopters are only permitted for transporting crew and workers to and from Barentsburg from Svalbard Airport. Läs artikel