Presidential programme final conference

On 28 January 2022 the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities organised the final conference of the Presidential programme, one of the programmes that is studied in the RE:Barents project. Due to Covid restrictions the event was organised in a digital fashion. About 70 participants, mostly previous participants in the programme, could listen to presentations about the history of the programme and personal accounts of experiences during internships in Norway and Russia. Elita Cakule (photo) and Christian Larsen (KS/RE:Barents participants) gave a presentation of the Presidential programme, and Aadne Aasland (OsloMet/RE:Barents project leader) presented the plans for the final assessment of the programme.

RE:Barents presented at Nordområdekonferansen

At Nordområdekonferansen, organised by the Norwegian Health and Care Ministry 6-7 December in Oslo (Radisson Nydalen), Aadne Aasland presented the RE:Barents project to those who have received funding for health collaboration with Russia from the Ministry’s grant scheme. Aasland also used the opportunity to present the plans for the evaluation of this grant scheme which NIBR will undertake in collaboration with RE:Barents partners NORCE and Luzin during the next few months.


Collaboration in difficult times

RE:Barents researchers (Bård Kårtveit and Vigdis Nygaard at NORCE) write about the importance of keeping up collaboration with Russian partners – in Dagsavisen 6 December 2021.

RE:Barents presented for JWGHS

The RE:Barents project was presented by Aadne Aasland for the Joint Working Group on Health and Related Social Issues at their 33rd (digital) Meeting, 12 November 2021

NIBR to evaluate Norwegian-Russian health collaboration

Foto: Barentssekretariatet (Ksenia Novikova)

NIBR, OsloMet – in collaboration with NORCE Research and Luzin Institute for Economic Studies – has been selected to conduct an evaluation of the Grant scheme for Norwegian-Russian health collaboration in the 2016 – 2019 period for the Norwegian Health and Care Ministry. The evaluation is scheduled to be ready by May 2022. The team consists of Aadne Aasland (project leader), Jørn Holm-Hansen, Bård Kårtveit, Ludmila Ivanova, Larisa Riabova and Svetlana Britvina, all participants in the RE:Barents project.

Paper at borderland conference

On 23 September 2021 Jørn Holm-Hansen (NIBR) presented the paper «Cross-border cooperation between Russian and Norwegian grassroot organizations: To what extent is it affected by changes in the geopolitical atmosphere?» written together with Aadne Aasland (NIBR) and Elena Dybtsyna (Nord University) at the conference «Relations in the Borderlands: Old and New Inhabitants» in Białystok, Poland.

Abstract: What impact do the changes in the geopolitical environment have on grassroot cross-border cooperation within the Barents Euro-Arctic Region? The Barents Secretariat’s grant programme is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in line with the overall aims of building trust and people-to-people cooperation in the Russian and Norwegian regions forming part of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. The programme’s thematic fields are culture and sports, education and competence, business and entrepreneurship, media and information, civil society, environmental protection, indigenous peoples, and children and youth.

Based on two evaluations of the grant programme carried out by this paper’s authors (2008 and 2021) the paper analyses the development over time of the cross-border cooperation in Russia’s Northwesternmost and Norway’s Northernmost regions. The context in which the programme is carried out today differs in significant ways from those in 2007-8. The 2014 events in Ukraine have led to a new geopolitical environment that poses a challenge to the idea of cross-border trust and people-to-people cooperation. Moreover, internal political developments in Russia have led to more centralized power structures and control, among others of civil society. This paper explores the effects of these changes on Russian-Norwegian cross-border cooperation.

Re:Barents kick-off workshop

The Re:Barents project had its kick-off workshop on 28 May 2021. Team members from all partner institutions were present. Participants were welcomed by NIBR Institute Director Geir Heierstad, Research Director Kristian Rose Tronstad and Project leader Aadne Aasland. Both project researchers and non-academic partner institutions expressed great commitment to the project and emphasised the importance of policy relevance, both for the partner institutions involved, but also for further development of the future collaboration between Norway and Russia on health and social welfare. The participants discussed theory, methodology and dissemination, division of tasks and responsibilities, and administrative procedures, including ethics. An important discussion concerned the selection of cases for in-depth study; a preliminary selection of cases has now been made. Team members expressed the wish to keep in close contact with key stakeholders both in Norway and Russia during the implementation of the project.

9 out of 12 team members captured at the end of the workshop: