A hundred years ago Norway broke its ties with Sweden which had been established in 1814. And Russia was the first country which formally recognized the independence of the new state and established diplomatic relations with it on October 30, 1905.
Over the centuries the two countries maintained neighborly relations in the western Polar regions. Geographically, Russia is "facing" the North with a broad facade stretching over nearly half of the Arctic; and the smaller Norway has there a "wedge" of territory stretching for 2 thous. km. It is "topped" with the Spitsbergen Archipelago (Norwegian-Svalbard). Boats of the Vikings possibly reached its shores, but no material traces of these visits have yet been found. At the same time one comes across ruins of early Russian settlements on the shores of these islands, dating back to the 17th and even 16th centuries*. The Russian coast-dwellers, "pomors", and also mariners were the first to open up the archipelago, called Grumant, which was believed to be the "brink" of Greenland. At the same time Norwegian whalers and hunters of seals were traditionally prominent on the Barents Sea. This being so, the mariners and seafarers of the two countries must have often "shaken hands" on the Arctic sealanes.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries heroic voyages of Norwegian explorers of the Arctic brought international recognition to their homeland. Achievements of these explorers stimulated the progress of its science, especially oceanography, geophysics, glaciology and polar biology. Its explorers provided tangible contributions to developing and improving methods of polar studies, such as choosing the best expedition equipment and provisions. In Russia there were similar projects in store which made cooperation with Norway especially important. This included purchasing ships for voyages in the Arctic, and ships built in Russia usually visited the seaports of Bergen and Tromse for getting additional equipment and c ... Read more