Norway demands Russian satellite station removed

The whole satellite plant on the mountain behind Barentsburg must be removed by May 15. Photo: Sysselmannen (Arild Lyssand).

Norway’s Governor to Svalbard demands that Russia removes an illegally erected plant for a satellite station in Barentsburg.


By May 15 three large and heavy concrete foundations for satellite antennas, cable trays and two container cabins must be removed from the mountain just behind Barentsburg, the Governor’s web site reads.

Russia started building the station last summer, without the necessary permission from the Governor, who is the highest authority on the archipelago.

The Governor points out that the plant has been erected despite the fact that the State Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AANII) in St. Petersburg had been thoroughly informed during a meeting that they should not start construction until all necessary permits were in place.

According to the Governor’s decision the research institute must comply with the prevailing plan for land use, according to which the area where the plant is built is supposed to be a recreation area.

The satellite station is part of Russia’s strategy for securing of Russian presence on Svalbard, which was adopted in December 2011.

The case can quickly develop into a delicate matter, given that the facility is located on Trust Arktikugol’s property. Trust Arktikugol is a Russian state-owned company engaged in coal operations on Svalbard. AANII had been given green light to start construction of the satellite station by the coal company.