Russian–Norwegian Borderlands: Three Facets of Geopolitics

12 Jun 2020

(Journal of Borderlands Studies) Abstract: This article aims to explore a paradoxical co-existence of various forms and models of trans-border interactions in areas of direct adjacency of Norway and Russia. Our main hypothesis is that the structural conditions of securitization that became dominant in NATO-Russia relations after the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas produce different effects all across the borderline, directly affecting borderland communities, including mobility, connectivity and public security. As our key point, we posit that the geopolitical conflictuality and the ensuing gaps and ruptures in military security are not automatically projected onto the level of “low” / grass-roots / local politics where there exists a public demand for expanding the existing spaces of interaction in such fields as cultural exchanges, environmental protection and people-to-people contacts. Apparently, the geopolitical divides are more visible and easily identifiable through the mainstream media, while other layers need a different optics allowing to spot various regimes of border functioning and peer into the complex construction of borders, where geopolitical divisions and partitions are counter-balanced by sub-national activities and initiatives discarding the logic of geopolitical conflict and alternating it with the grass-roots public / cultural diplomacy.

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Co-author: Anna Kuznetsova