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The MIKON flagship program in the Fram Centre is using both social and environmental sciences to examine how High North industrial development will affect the natural world, regional societies like the Sami and economic activity.

On the backdrop of political chill, trade between Finland and Russia is falling sharply. Also tourism between the countries is in a downswing.

Crab trawlers in Kirkenes (BarentsObserver)

The Russian king crab fleet in the Barents Sea has returned to the border town of Kirkenes after having had the town of Tromsø as base for one year.

Russia’s foreign trade will continue to drop dramatically in 2010, the country’s Finance Ministry says.

Mining

The upgrade of Norilsk-Nickel’s roasting plant will be completed in 2012 – two years after schedule.

The Murmansk harbour.

Finnish marine power supplier Wartsila will serve Barents Sea vessels.

Foto: Barentsphoto.com

Mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel intends to complete the upgrade of its new port terminal in Murmansk by 2011. That will further boost the company’s ability to handle logistical operations in the region without assistance from other companies.

Photo: k-tainer.ru

Russian foreign trade in the period January-November 2009 shrunk 39,3 percent compared with the same period in 2008, figures from the Russian Customs Service show.

Yury Komarov (left) and Governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast Ilya Mikhailchuk (Photo: Trude Pettersen)

Gazprom is still eyeing LNG production and sale from the Shtokman project, despite the dramatic change in the US gas marked. - The LNG business will develop in Europe, says Yuri Komarov, Chief executive of Shtokman Development AG, speaking at a conference in Arkhangelsk.

Vladimir Potanin (photo: Forbesrussia.ru)

Vladimir Potanin - the main owner of mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel – the last year almost five-fold increased his fortune. Meanwhile, company plants in the Kola Peninsula continue to seriously harm Arctic nature.

Karelia timber.

The investment group Kalevala will build a large wood-boards factory just outside Petrozavodsk in Karelia.

The town Nikel on the Kola Peninsula is a typical company town where most business depend on the factory.

Two billion rubles will be provided in subsidies to small and medium-sized business in Russia’s company towns.

Russian trawlers in Kirkenes harbor, Northern Norway.

Russia’s Prime Minister says it is not fair that fishermen catching fish in Russia’s economic zone should be obligated to pay customs duty as if they were importing something. Today, Russian trawlers reload much of their fish to foreign vessels in the Barents Sea, or land the fish in foreign harbors.

Russian visa

Russia has started to issue three-year visas and work permits to foreigners. But only for the ones with salaries of more than two million RUB.

Several of the key industries in the Komi Republic have in 2010 experienced negative growth. The region has still managed to cut unemployment and uphold salary levels, the latest Barents Monitoring report reads.