On Tuesday the White House announced that the U.S. does not plan to send any senior officials to the Winter Games in Sochi. Earlier French President François Hollande and President of Germany Joachim Gauck have also announced that they will not attend any events in the games.
Norway’s recently elected Prime Minister Erna Solberg says she would like to go to Sochi:
“It is not yet clear if I’ll go to Sochi or not, since I have a very busy schedule that month. But I really want to go because I believe it is important to support Norwegian sports achievements”, she says to newspaper VG.
Members of the Royal Family are also planning to attend parts of the Olympic games, as they have done for many years.
Russia has been widely criticized for introducing antigay-rights laws which might been seen as a violation of the International Olympic Committee charter that states that sport is a human right regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Though President Putin has promised that all guests at the Olympics will be made to feel comfortable, the laws he supports clearly put gay individuals and supporters in jeopardy.
Erna Solberg does not wish to send any political signal to Russian authorities by not going.
“I am no fan of protesting through non-participation. I don’t think that gives a better foundation for dialogue”. Solberg adds that Norway has frequent meetings with Russian politicians where questions like human rights are being discussed.
“I think Solberg has made the right decision”, says Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat Rune Rafaelsen to BarentsObserver. “It is important to hold all channel open in our relationship with Russia”.
The company is closing down its biggest mine in the Kola Peninsula following plummeting raw material prices. Consequences will be dramatic for Zapolyarny, the industrial town located along the border to Norway.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
“This sends a clear message to Russia that things aren’t so good when it comes to basic journalistic values in Norway either” The firing of BarentsObserver’s Editor Thomas Nilsen has led to massive reactions from journalists and other protectors of press freedom.