“Barents cooperation is like a regional laboratory”

Head of Nordland County Government Tomas Norvoll (left), Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov Governor Marina Kovtun, Head of Troms County Government Line Fusdahl and Deputy Head of Finnmark County parliament Bente Haug.

“Whatever happens in the rest of the world, we must continue our cooperation,” said Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun when she on Saturday together with Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov met colleagues from Northern Norway.


Marina Kovtun and Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov teamed up with the political leaders from Nordland, Troms and Finnmark counties in Kirkenes.

Together, the regional leaders exemplified what the foreign ministers of Norway and Russia underscored in their speeches on the occation of the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation of Finnmark. The event took place in Kirkenes, the first town in Norway to be liberated from Nazi-German occupation in late October 1944.

Both Sergey Lavrov and Børge Brende talked up the Barents cooperation as a continuing success between the two nations in a time when the political east-west climate is at its coldest in post-Soviet times. 

Already in the early morning on Saturday, before Norway’s King Harald and Prime Minister Erna Solberg arrived, the regional politicians met and signed agreements boosting cross-border ties.

“We have always, in the past, current and future time, tried to develop cooperation across the borders. Murmansk has three good friends; Nordland, Troms and Finnmark,” stated Marina Kovtun.

Then she signed a renewed agreement with Line Fusdahl, Head of the Troms County Government.

“Murmansk, as Russia’s gateway to the Arctic, is especially interested in cooperating with Troms on science, research and education,” Kovtun said.

Line Fusdahl said she was especially happy to see that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov so clearly said he wants to develop the regional Barents cooperation further when Russia takes of the chair in the Barents Council next autumn.

Marina Kovtun and Line Fusdahl sign cooperation agreement.