• 10/28/2015
    By Rebecka Snefuglli Sondell, International Barents Secretariat

    The regional participation in the Barents cooperation varies greatly among the member regions. This is shown from the statistics on the participation rate at the Barents Regional Council (BRC) meetings between 2008 and 2014. During this period, Norrbotten county has sent 39 representatives to the meetings, making it the most active region in the BRC. This compares to the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which has the lowest participation rate of six representatives during the same period.

    “Norrbotten has prioritized the Barents cooperation for many years and as a result we have also participated in most of the meetings”, says Sven-Erik Österberg, the current governor of Norrbotten county. “We have also appointed civil...

  • 10/08/2015
    By Gleb Yarovoy, Petrozavodsk State University

    According to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda ("Komsomol Truth"), all five subregions of the Russian Barents are in the top ten most drinking regions in Russia. In fact, data from the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation and Rosstat shows that volumes of purchased alcoholic drinks in the five subregions exceed the national average substantially, sometimes multifold.

    Vodka - connecting people
    The Nenets Autonomous Okrug (AO) has the highest consumption of strong spirits in Russia....

  • 09/30/2015
    By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University

    When it comes to participation in parliamentary elections in the Barents Region, Sweden takes first place. According to statistics from Patchwork Barents, the latest elections to the national, regional and local legislative assemblies in Sweden had a voter turnout over eighty percent, which is considerably higher than in Norway, Finland and Russia.

    In 2014, when the latest Riksdag elections took place, 86.5 percent of the electorate in Norrbotten County took part in the national parliament elections, whereas in Västerbotten, the figure was 87.6 percent. The turnout was also high in regional parliament elections: 82.8 percent in Norrbotten, and 84.0 percent in Västerbotten, which has become the highest figure since 2002. On the...

  • Fish stocks in the Barents Sea are richer than ever, but the fish industry in Murmansk still in state of decline.
    By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

    Figures from regional statistical office Murmanskstat, the regional branch office of federal Rosstat, show that regional fishery processing facilities the first six months of 2015 produced 19,3 thousand tons, 13 percent less than in the same period 2014, BarentsObserver reports.

    The weak results for 2015 follows an industry decline also last year. In 2014, regional fish processing dropped almost three percent compared with 2013.

    In addition, the Murmansk regional aquaculture industry is in crisis following mass death in salmon...

  • 09/14/2015
    By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University

    According to official data from the Federal Agency for Tourism, only three thousand Russians visited Norway in the first quarter of 2015. This is 33.6 percent less than in the same period of the previous year, when 4.7 thousand Russian tourists travelled to Norway. Overall, in 2014, Norway hosted 22.8 thousand Russian guests, and took thirty-second place in the list of the most preferable travel destinations among Russians.

    The figures are based on the number of holiday trips (with minimum one overnight stay) made by...

  • New wind parks take northern Norway to the lead
    By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

    The Norwegian government has approved the development of the Kvitfjell and Raudfjell wind parks outside the city of Tromsø. That will make the region the biggest producer of wind power in the whole Arctic, BarentsObserver reports.

    The new parks will have an annual capacity of up to 800 GWh, enough to power 40.000 households. The park will be ready for production in 2017.

    From before, the north Norwegian county of Troms produces 124 GWh (2014), figures from Patchwork Barents show. When adding the neighboring counties of Finnmark (200 GWh) and Nordland (100 GWh), North Norway in 2014...

  • Despite a challenging northern climate, agriculture is rich in the Barents Region
    By Birgitte Wisur Olsen, Kirkenes, freelancer/Sør-Varanger Avis

    What crops can be grown in the North — where the spring is almost nonexistent, but the midnight sun shines twenty-four hours a day for two months?

    "This is not bad," says Tone Aandahl with sheer joy in her voice as she grabs a good handful of potato grass, pulls it up and digs up almond potatoes from the soil. By the middle of August, these potatoes have a size siutable for the dinner table — even after a cold, wet summer.

    The production of potatoes and crops for commercial use is almost nonexistent in Finnmark, in the northernmost part of Norway. According to Statistics Norway, Finnmark produced only a meagre two-hundered tons of potatoes in 2013. This figure is very low compared to, for example, Northern Ostrobothnia (Finland), which topped the list for the Barents Region...

  • As it celebrates its 100-years anniversary, the Port of Murmansk records historically bad results.
    By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

    The Murmansk Sea Port marks its 100 years of operations with a great party in the city downtown. However, as thousands of locals enjoyed the show, there seems to be less joy to find in the port accounts books, BarentsObserver reports.

    Figures from the local Murmansk Statistical Service (Murmanskstat) indicate that regional ports are in a period of serious decline. In the first seven months of 2015, the ports had a drop in their goods turnover of almost 20 percent. That follows a downturn of as much as 40 percent in 2014 compared with 2013.

    As illustrated by Patchwork Barents the Murmansk sea ports in 2014 handled 22,7 million tons of goods, compared with...

  • The heyday of the Norwegian job market is coming to an end.
    By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

    By end of August, a total of 84 702 people, or 3,1 percent of the national work force, were without jobs. That is an increase of almost 6000 people compared with the same month 2014, BarentsObserver reports.

    The northern parts Norway appear to be doing better than the rest of the country.

    Figures from NAV shows that unemployment in the northernmost county of Finnmark by end August amounted to 3,7 percent, down from 3,8 percent in the same period 2014. In Nordland, the figure dropped from 3,0 percent to 2,8 percent in the same period, while the County of Troms had a zero-change (2,4%).

    However, also in the north, the employment situation is...

  • 08/25/2015
    By Arina Ulyanova, Murmansk State Humanities University

    What skills do you need to find a job in Finnmark, and who risks staying unemployed in Murmansk Oblast? Patchwork Barents presents a list of the most demanded professions in Northern Norway and Russia.

    According to Norway's Employment Survey 2015, published by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, these are the sectors most in need of workers:

    Barents Norway in particular has a lack of nurses,...