Termination of Lapland professor puts a chill on Arctic research, thebarentsobserver.com

Heather Exner-Pirot, Director of Energy, Natural Resources and Environment with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute

[…] Dr. Heininen is a colleague of mine; we founded the Arctic Yearbook together. There are very few researchers of Arctic geopolitics and security who are not colleagues of Heininen. […]

And so, to the case that has created the maelstrom. Heininen attended a conference on March 5, 2024 in Moscow. It was organized by the Northern Forum, an NGO that focuses on regional Arctic development. The Northern Forum was established in Alaska in 1991, in the wake of the Cold War, and retains Observer status in the Arctic Council, although its members now lean heavily Russian. Heininen’s talk focused on prospects for cooperation on climate change between the West and Russia.

A Finnish newspaper reported on his participation. Very soon afterwards, his emeritus status at the University of Lapland, which is an unpaid position, was revoked (Heininen retired as a Professor there in 2018).

It is not clear that Heininen violated any Finnish policy that would justify the termination of his contract. Indeed, the University of Helsinki – where Heininen is also a Visiting Researcher –  came to a different decision on his case after a review of the facts, and pursued no further action.[…]

Indeed, that is one of the lessons from the Cold War: Arctic scientific cooperation provided a foundation for detente, and eventually paved the way for the normalisation of state relations in the region; the famous zone of peace.

We are very far from that today. But one day there will be a Russia without Putin, and when that day comes it will be in our interests to have some ties between western and Russian scientists, both to provide avenues for cooperation, and to help build confidence. Läs artikel