Stories

Finland loses Russian tourists, while Norway experiences a growth
03/27/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
The number of nights spent by Russians at tourist accommodation establishments in Barents Finland continued to decline at the beginning of 2016. Norway, on the contrary, had an increased number of guest nights by Russian visitors this year.January is usually the most popular month of the year for Russian visitors to travel to Northern Finland, measured by the number of overnight stays. However, this January, in most regions of Northern Finland the number of Russian tourists decreased by more than twenty percent, compared to January 2015.As data from Statistics Finland shows, this January, the most significant drop (25.6 percent) was...
No more asylum seekers to Barents Finland
03/23/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
The flow of asylum seekers going to Barents Finland through Murmansk Oblast has stopped. In March, no refugees were registered at the Raja-Jooseppi and Salla crossing points, show statistics of the Finnish Border Guard.Migrants from the Arab countries began their journey to northern Finland last autumn as the situation in the Middle East became critical. In November, 261 asylum seekers crossed the Russian-Finnish border, while the next month the number increased almost twice, to 433 people. In total, 694 refugees came to Lapland through Murmansk Oblast in 2015.It is worth noting that the influx of asylum seekers was larger at the Raja-...
What is the economic situation in Barents Russia?
03/17/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
The turnover in commercial organizations in Murmansk Oblast totaled 52,306 million rubles in January 2016. The figure indicates a 7.1 percent growth compared to the same period in 2015. Murmansk Statistics Service (Murmanskstat) recently published a report about the socio-economic situation in the oblast.Despite the economic crisis, and an overall decline in the tourism industry over the last two years, hotels and restaurants in Murmansk Oblast experienced significant growth in the first month of 2016. The total revenue of enterprises in this sector reached 940,5 million rubles – equaling a growth of 76.2 percent compared to January 2015.The...
Birth rate in Murmansk Oblast may drop 44 percent in 15 years
03/09/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
The birth rate of Murmansk Oblast may decrease by 43.8 percent in the next fifteen years, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service predicts. According to the population projection published by Murmanskstat, the number of newborns in the region will gradually decrease from almost nine thousand in 2016 to five thousand by 2031.In 2014, more than nine thousand babies were born in Murmansk Oblast. Comparatively, in 1990, the region registered over thirteen thousand newborns, shows data from Patchwork Barents.The decline predicted by Murmanskstat may not only affect newborns, but the whole population of the region.As preliminary figures show...
Significant growth for Russian oil producers in 2015
02/19/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
In 2015, over 800,000 tons of crude oil was produced on the Prirazlomnaya platform. This figure is 2.5 times higher than the volume extracted on the Russian Arctic shelf in 2014, reports Gazprom Neft Shelf."In 2015, we not only reached the planned number of new oil wells and volume of oil production, but also managed to ensure production safety on the shelf in extreme Arctic conditions," said Gazprom Neft Shelf general director Gennady Lyubin.He also added that plans call for doubling oil production in 2016 and that compliance with safety and environmental regulations will be the priority.In 2014-2015, the Prirazlomnoye field extracted over...
New cases of ill fish in Murmansk Oblast?
01/22/2016
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
In the summer of 2015, Murmansk Oblast registered large outbreaks of a deadly epidemic among river salmon in the region. At the end of the year, regional fishermen faced another concern: new cases of fish disease had reportedly been found in one of the rivers of the Kola Peninsula. This time a would-be illness has spread among vendace. Photos of fish with strange spots on their skin were published in the social media in late November.However, it's too early to speak about a new wave of epidemic, state local veterenarians. Shortly after the information about ill vendace was published in the media, the Veterinary Committee of the Murmansk...
Russian green energy: high ambition, low interest
The country’s government intends to invest big sums in the development of renewable power, but investor interest remains cool.
12/02/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer
Speaking in a recent conference, Minister Aleksandr Novak confirmed that the Russian government is ready to invest $53 billion in renewable energy generation by year 2035. According to the minister, a set of measures aimed at boosting the role of green energy are in the pipeline, the Independent Barents Observer reports with reference to Vedomosti.The measures follow up a federal green energy programme from 2013, a programme which includes an ambition to build new 6 GW generation capacities by year year 2020. However, the country is lagging far behind ambitions, and new green generation remains low. By 2015, agreements on new wind power...
Continued decline for Murmansk Port
Goods turnover in the Murmansk port is down more than 50% since 2010.
12/01/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer
In five years, goods turnover at Russia’s leading Arctic port has dropped by more than 50 percent. The port, a cornerstone infrastructure object in Murmansk Oblast, in the first ten months of 2015 had a 3,8 percent decline compared with the same period 2014, the Independent Barents Observer reports.That result brings goods turnover in the regional port to the lowest level in 13 years. In year 2002, the port handled 21,5 million tons, figures from Patchwork Barents shows. In 2015, the volume is likely to drop to below 22 million tons.Meanwhile, in year 2010 goods turnover at the port exceeded 56 million tons.Paradoxically, the weak results...
Refugee crisis: now it will be harder to get asylum in Norway
11/27/2015
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
Almost five thousand asylum seekers have crossed the Norwegian-Russian border since the European migrant crisis arose. And they still continue to come. The Norwegian government rings the alarm: all the reception centers in Finnmark are overloaded, and now it has been decided to toughen the asylum regulations.A timeline of the refugee situation at the borderThe crisis flared up this September, when the situation in the Middle East became critical. Syrian refugees started to seek shelter in Northern Norway, massively crossing the border from Murmansk Oblast to Finnmark County by bicycles. According to the law, it is forbidden to cross the...
Murmansk opened the Arctic "super university"
11/03/2015
By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University
As the Arctic is becoming an object of steadily growing attention, Murmansk has decided to train specially qualified staff to be able to work under the circumpolar conditions. In particular, the government of Murmansk Oblast has initiated the idea to establish an Arctic State University in the region’s capital.The first news about the establishment of the Arctic University appeared in the local media last autumn, when the government had created a special working group. Today, the topic is being actively discussed both on the regional, national and international level. The Arctic University will reportedly offer unique resources: more than...

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