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Utgaver i tidsskriftet Nordisk Østforum

Nordisk Østforum (NØF) dekker politisk, økonomisk og kulturell utvikling i Russland, Balkan, Øst-Europa og det postsovjetiske området. Tidsskriftet inviterer forskere til å ta del i den nordiske debatten om utviklingen i et av våre viktigste nærområder.

  1. Abstract in English
    “That kind of mother”: Stigmatisation by the Russian child protection services
    How does stigma influence the extent to which the child protection services in Russia undertake preventative work with vulnerable families in order to avoid taking the child out the family? Based on an analysis of previous research and my own fieldwork from St. Petersburg and Moscow, I note the gap between expectations towards vulnerable families, and their actual living conditions and potential for meeting these expectations. This gap results in a stigmatising categorisation of families who find themselves marginalised as neblagopolutsjnye – socially disadvantaged. Although Russia’s officially ‘family-oriented’ child protection system is expected to base its work on objective methods, stigmatisation influences the decisions of social workers, making the system risk-oriented in practice. This is due to little or inadequate specialised education among social workers, resulting in the strong presence of the human factor: subjective, non-professional evaluations are made. With scant intersectional cooperation among state actors, there is little space to counteract or modify subjective evaluations. Thus, stigmatisation serves to limit the extent to which vulnerable families in Russia receive help, thus creating and upholding ‘social orphanhood’.

  2. Abstract: A Chinese Railway to the Arctic? The Story of Belkomur – so Far
    The further development of the Northern Sea Route, including the associated logistical chains and infrastructure, enjoys high priority in Russia, and inadequate south–north transportation capacity is recognized as a problem. China has shown increasing interest in Arctic shipping over the past ten years. The construction of a railway from the Urals, with connections to China, to a deep-water port with access to the Arctic Ocean appeared attractive, both as a strategic opportunity for China and as a natural area for Chinese engagement in Russia, given announcements of the close partnership and common interests between the two countries. Since 2012 various Chinese companies have shown interest in investing, and the conclusion of a concession agreement has been announced several times. The Russian federal authorities have voiced support, without committing budget funding. Increasingly, however, critical remarks have been heard from the federal government, although regional support remains strong. As of mid-2021 no firm agreement had been signed, and the project was put on hold. Reviewing the history of the project since Chinese companies were first engaged, this article offers insights on Russian regional authorities’ scope for manoeuvre and the relationship between central and regional power. It also reveals Russian misinterpretations of Chinese interest in the project.

  3. Abstract: Security Policy and Memory Politics: Establishing the Soviet Liberation Monument in Kirkenes, 1945–1952
    A few kilometers from the border with Russia, in the town of Kirkenes in the easternmost corner of Northern Norway, there stands a bronze statue of a Soviet soldier looking out over the borderland. The Soviet Liberation Monument, as the statue is called, was unveiled in 1952 by the Norwegian authorities, in gratitude for the Soviet liberation of the East Finnmark area in 1944. The statue has served as a meeting place for regular commemorative ceremonies involving the Norwegian and Soviet authorities, throughout the Cold War and up until the present. This article explores the interplay between security policy and memory politics at the onset of the Cold War by examining the seven-year long process of establishing this monument. As the Iron Curtain descended over Europe, the monument and the memories attached to it became important tools with which Norway developed a critical dialogue with its great-power neighbor. The article shows how the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs learned how to use the collective memories of the Soviet liberation to ensure Norway’s security-policy goal of low tension in its relations with the USSR.

  4. Abstract: Commemorating the Red Army Liberation in Kirkenes, Norway, 1954–1994
    This study traces the development over fifty years of the joint Norwegian–Soviet/Russian commemorations of the Red Army liberation of the eastern part of Finnmark County, Norway, in October 1944. The first commemorative events were held in October 1954 in the town of Kirkenes close to the Norwegian–Soviet border. Throughout the Cold War and into the post-Soviet period, such events have been arranged in Kirkenes every five years, with representatives of the Norwegian state authorities acting as hosts to a Soviet/Russian delegation. The focal point of these events has been a ceremony held by the Liberation Monument, unveiled in 1952 to honour the Red Army soldiers who liberated Norwegian territory by driving back the Nazi occupation forces. This article documents how the tradition of joint commemorations developed across the Iron Curtain divide as part of a predominantly diplomatic struggle over the events of October 1944, between Norway, a small state and NATO-member, and the superpower that was the Soviet Union. Our study concludes that, despite the struggle, which stemmed from Cold War tensions and competing security perceptions and interests, these joint commemorations have served as a stabilizing element in bilateral relations, producing a narrative not only about the Red Army liberation of eastern Finnmark, but also of friendship and mutual respect between the peoples of Norway and Russia, and of a long tradition of peaceful relations between the two states.

  5. Abstract: ‘The Politics of Uncertainty’ in Practice: The 2020 Presidential Election that Changed Belarus
    Up until 2020 Aleksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarian regime had ruled Belarus for 26 years without major challenges. Thus, the popular mobilization that took shape in connection with the August 2020 presidential election came as a surprise. It was not the first time that elections in Belarus were not fair – but it was the first time that large sectors of the population reacted openly. Six months later, Belarusians all over the country were still contesting the falsified results. What contributed to this mobilization and politicization of a previously largely apolitical society? Why does that development represent such a serious threat to the authoritarian system? This study sees the Belarusian presidential election and its aftermath as illustrating the ‘politics of uncertainty’ of electoral authoritarian regimes. Because of the intrinsic insecurity of authoritarian systems, all regular elections in that context entail risks, which in theory might lead to change. In Belarus, the emergence of latent threats to the regime’s legitimacy in the form of social cleavages and an economic crisis, combined with the fundamental dynamics of the ‘election game’, amplified this instability. The election served as the starting point for a process of transformation that became the most serious threat ever faced by the Lukashenka regime.

  6. Svein Mønnesland, professor emeritus at the University of Oslo, reviews Yugoslavia and Political Assassinations: The History and Legacy of Tito’s Campaign against the Émigrés, by Christian Axboe Nielsen, published in 2020 by I.B. Tauris.

  7. Emil Edenborg (Swedish Institute of International Affairs and Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University) reviews The Shortest History of Russia: From the Vikings to the Present Day (Den korteste historien om Russland: fra vikingene til våre dager)by Peter Normann Waage (published in 2020 by Wigmostad & Bjorke).

  8. Nikita Lomagin, professor at the European University at St. Petersburg, reviewes Russian Oil Companies in an Evolving World: The Challenge of Changeby Indra Øverland and Nina Poussenkova (Edward Elgar Publishing 2020).

  9. Astrid Bjønnes reviews Multiple sides of Russia (Flere sider af Rusland)by Eva Ravn Møenbak, published in 2020 by Frydenlund.

  10. Helge Ø. Pharo, University of Oslo, reviews The Logic of Fear. The Cold War - a New Global History 1917-1961, by Poul Villaume (Gads forlag 2020).

  11. Håvard Bækken, Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, reviews Putin’s Russia and the Falsification of History: Reasserting Control over the Past, by Anton Weiss-Wendt (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021).

  12. Flemming Splidsboel Hansen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, reviews Putin, by Hans-Wilhelm Steinfeld (Cappelen Damm, 2020).

  13. Rasmus Nilsson, University College London, reviews Constructions and Instrumentalization of the Past: A Comparative Study of Memory Management in the Region, edited by Ninna Mörner (CBEES, 2020).

  14. The Russian Path: Ideas, Interests, Institutions, Illusions by Dmitry Travin, Vladimir Gel'man, Otar Marganiya, is reviewed by Ingerid M. Opdahl, associate professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.

  15. Migration and Hybrid Political Regimes: Navigating the Legal Landscape in Russia by Rustram Urinboyev (University of California Press 2021) is reviewed by Anna-Liisa Heusala, of the University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri Institute - Finnish Centre for Russian and East European Studies.

  16. Russia as a Military Power, edited by Niels Bo Poulsen and Jørgen Staun (Djøf Forlag 2021) is reviewed by Tor Bukkvoll, of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).

  17. Bjørn Svenungsen, of the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, reviews Carolina Vendil Pallin's report for the Swedish Defence Research Agency titled The Key Players in Russia's Cyber Strategy: 2000–2020 (Nyckelaktörerna för rysk cyberstrategi: 2000–2020).

  18. Maryam Sugaipova, of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, reviews Det tabte Tjetjenien: Erindringer fra en borgerkrig (What Chechnya Lost: Memories of a Civil War) by Zulay Magazieva,

  19. Dr. Kristin Ven Bruusgaard reviews the report Russian Nuclear Forceswritten by Steinar Høibråten and Halvor Kippe at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. 

  20. Julie Hansen, associate professor of Slavic languages at Uppsala University, reviews Aleksander Pushkin. Russia's Great Poet written by Erik Egeberg.