The Svalbard (Spitsbergen) archipelago is unique in that it is governed on the basis of the Svalbard Treaty of 1920, which gives Norway sovereignty over Svalbard and thus responsibility for administering the islands, while at the same time allowing all signatory countries equal rights to extracting natural resources and upholding other commercial activities. While most of the economic «adventurers» of the early 20th century found Svalbard to be of little economic interest, the Soviet Union maintained a strong presence throughout the century, thus de facto making Svalbard a place for bilateral Soviet–Norwegian relations. The article explores how Norway, starting in the 1960s, has gradually attempted to increase its management in the Sovjet, and later Russian, settlements, and increasingly so after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Environmental issues have been instrumental in improving Norway’s management capabilities, which have caused frustration in Moscow.
This article outlines the development of the bilateral Norwegian–Russian fisheries management regime since its establishment in the mid-1970s and discusses how fisheries cooperation in the post-Soviet period has been influenced by three factors external to the regime: the political climate between Russia and the West, Norwegian–Russian cooperation in the commercial sphere and the internal political and economic development in Russia. While cooperation in the early 1990s was characterized by good relations and a high level of regulative activity, the climate between the parties cooled off towards the turn of the millennium, and it became difficult to reach agreement on some issues. Since the early 2000s, development has been mainly positive, with both parties taking a pragmatic approach to cooperation.
More than twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, civil society development in Russia is characterized by increasing concern about what individuals and organizations can allow themselves to do and how state authorities will respond. In parallel to these developments, state initiatives to further cooperation in the form of public consultative bodies signal a concern with deeper integration between authorities and citizens. In this article I explain how foreign funding to Russian NGOs has developed in the post-communist era, including both positive and negative effects on NGO work. The empirical emphasis is on NGOs that address violence against women and have benefited from international funding, as well as NGO work in, and alongside, the regional public chamber in Murmansk. Considering the ambivalent character of state–society relations observed in Russia today, I argue that it is paramount to address local stories of civil society activism.