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Global Perspectives | Norwegian-Russian Relations

Date & Time

Dec. 17, 2020
1:00pm – 2:15pm ET




As the Arctic opens to global activity, its importance in the geopolitical struggle between NATO and Russia continues to grow. Norway is in a unique position in this relationship, with one of the few direct borders between a NATO member state and Russia. Norway’s relations with Russia are understandably complex, with deep economic ties and a history of regional cooperation, but also mutual suspicion and elevated concern. Norwegian State Secretary Audun Halvorsen joined us for a conversation on the state of Norwegian-Russian relations and their future trajectory.

Selected Quotes

Audun Halvorsen

"As a small European country bordering Russia, but of course firmly grounded in the Western community of values and interests, at least as a founding member of NATO going back to 1949, it is obvious that the relationship is a key factor in Norway's foreign, security, and defense policy and very high on any Norwegian government's agenda, and it is a relationship that needs to be managed in good times and in challenging times and in a way that contributes to stability and predictability in the region."

"Our decision in 1949 to be among the founding nations of the alliance placed us firmly in the Western camp of democracies and embracing a policy of collective defense against the Soviet Union that presented a military challenge. And after the thaw, through the 1990s and early 2000s, the recent years have unfortunately returned us to a situation marked by suspicion and a lack of trust and we see, as you all know, today's Russian leadership regards NATO as a challenge, it continues to act in ways that are contrary to our security interests and the interests of our closest allies. This is obviously shaping our Russia policy today."

Hosted By

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier US center for advanced research on Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

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