Russia vows stronger foothold on Svalbard

Barentsburg is today the only Russian settlement on Svalbard.

A consortium of research, education and other organizations is established with the aim to “ensure the Russian presence on Svalbard.”


Creation of the Russian Research Centre on Svalbard was adopted by an order of the Government on Tuesday.

The Centre will make sure decisions of the Government Commission will be implemented, reads the document posted on the portal of the Government.

Norwegian was granted full sovereignty of the archipelago with the Svalbard Treaty of 1920, but all signatory countries are granted non-discriminatory rights to mineral resources, fishing and hunting.

Russia has one settlement on Svalbard, Barentsburg, with about 500 inhabitants. The town-company, Arktikugol, has been mining coal here since 1932. The mines, however, are today running empty of resources, triggering Moscow to look out for other activities in the area.

BarentsObserver has earlier reported about the Russian Federal Tourism Agency’s plans to develop Arctic tourism, but also other activities like fish processing has been discussed.

Yesterday’s decision to establish a research centre on Svalbard is a result of the Governmental commission established in 2010, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov.

According to the Government’s decision, the centre will streamline already existing research and be secured financial support.