Kirkenes' economy has traditionally relied on fishing and iron-ore mining, and it has become a tourist destination. Rune Rafaelsen, the Kirkenes mayor, and other parishioners are in the pews singing prayers along to the organ music. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. “Kirkenes is a Russian town in Norway,” said Rune Rafaelsen, the mayor of Soer-Varanger municipality which includes Kirkenes. The municipality has given a green light for a new, bigger harbor, but it doesn't have the money to build it. Rafaelsen's infrastructure plan has backing from some businesses in the area. (Photo: sverigesradio.se) “We need to act, otherwise we should apply direct influence to the owners of the company,” Rafaelsen said in an interview late last week with Bellona. But doubters abound. There has also been pushback from the Sami, an indigenous people who herd reindeer across northern Finland. hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle While the melting sea ice has alarmed scientists and residents, newly accessible waterways mean commercial ships are increasingly plowing along polar lanes. Now they think Kirkenes should not be Chinese at all. A rail line could harm their livelihoods and culture, Sami leaders and the working group said. That idea is on hold amid doubts that there would be enough cargo to warrant the cost. "People get angry. “We are responding to the fact that the economic centre of the world, which has for hundreds of years been Europe and the US, in the near future will shift towards Southeast Asia,” he … Rafaelsen has visited China several times to meet with government officials and business people, hoping to build interest in a Norwegian logistical hub. Kjell Stokvik, managing director for the Center for High North Logistics, a local subsidiary of Norway’s Tschudi Shipping Co., says developing a major hub could help increase employment in an isolated area with a dwindling population. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Located 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) west of Kirkenes, at Høybuktmoen, the airport has a 2,115-meter (6,939 ft) long runway which allows Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle to operate direct flights to Oslo. Since 2020, the Troms og Finnmark County Municipality has been led by Jon Askeland, the county mayor. Rune Rafaelsen, mayor of Kirkenes, in Arctic Norway. "We need jobs — we need the youth to stay, not going away.". "And so many people [in the Arctic] are looking at China as a potential source of cash, of investment capital.". Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. "Western Arctic countries have had a lot of trouble for generations now funding northern development," he says. Deputy Mayor of Kirkenes, Pål Gabrielsen, supports a new railway, but said during the debate that he is … Kirkenes’ economy has traditionally relied on fishing and iron-ore mining, and it has become a tourist destination. Mayor. Rune Rafaelsen, the Kirkenes mayor, and other parishioners are in the pews singing prayers along to the organ music. Rafaelsen loves the view: "It's a very nice view, especially in the summer when you have the midnight sun is not going down in the horizon. By . His office is in the small town Kirkenes — … That's the best," he says. About a year ago, the Chinese government launched an Arctic white paper, considered its first formal articulation of policies for the region. About a year ago, the Chinese government launched an Arctic white paper, considered its first formal articulation of policies for the region. In February 2019, the Norwegian town’s annual winter festival was themed “The World’s Northernmost Chinatown.” Kirkenes was festooned with red lanterns and the Chinese ambassador to Norway paid a visit. "If there would be a railway between Rovaniemi and Kirkenes, then Kirkenes would be a gateway for those products from Finland and to somewhere far east," Chen Feng, COSCO's general director of marketing and sales, told the website. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Travelers can jump on the Hurtigruten, a popular coastal cruiser that meanders through fjords down to Norway's southern city of Bergen. But he thinks there's more than that on the horizon. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer) The current Kirkenes Mayor, Rune Rafaelsen, says … Earlier this year, the Mayor brought a visiting delegation to a local factory producing special lights for industry and airplanes. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. But he thinks there’s more than that on the horizon. “Western Arctic countries have had a lot of trouble for generations now funding northern development,” he says. San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. A Mayor In Norway's Arctic Looks To China To Reinvent His Frontier Town . Now they think Kirkenes should not be Chinese at all. That’s the best,” he says. Photo: Thomas Nilsen. Yet some Norwegian businesses say they’re on board. But a Norwegian news website, the Independent Barents Observer, in June 2019 cited an executive at China Ocean Shipping Co. who sounded optimistic about Kirkenes. But Rafaelsen says not everyone in town was happy with the festival’s theme. Experts also see infrastructural needs in the area. Born and bred in Kirkenes, the mayor — a member of Norway's Labor Party — is a die-hard booster of his town, and he has been looking elsewhere for investors. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. But it's engaged people. It emphasized the region's strategic economic importance — calling China a "Near-Arctic State" — and elaborated on a plan to include a "Polar Silk Road" in its broad Belt and Road Initiative to build trade links across several continents. That idea is on hold amid doubts that there would be enough cargo to warrant the cost. Slideshow ( 36 images ) The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere on the planet. His municipality signed a friendship agreement with the city of Harbin, in northern China. Sør-Varanger Mayor Cecilie Hansen says enough is … Copyright 2020 NPR. He envisions building a massive new container terminal and a 300-mile railway to the city of Rovaniemi in neighboring Finland, which would key to moving cargo into Western Europe. Transportation. (The price tag is unclear.) But it’s engaged people. The Norwegian government drew up a concept study for a mega-port for the area. + Subscribe to our podcasts. Kirkenes pictures: Check out Tripadvisor members' 1,502 candid photos and videos of landmarks, hotels, and attractions in Kirkenes. now The polar region has few ports, roads and railway links, according to Adam Lajeunesse, a researcher who focuses on Arctic marine security and teaches at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Local mayors want tax from mining. “China is a new player,” Rune Rafaelsen, the mayor of Sør-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, told Media. NPR has contacted the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. about its Arctic strategies but it did not immediately provide comment for this special series. And so Kirkenes is the first western harbor you meet when you start from Shanghai and go along the Russian sub-Siberian coast," says Rafaelsen. In February 2019, the Norwegian town's annual winter festival was themed "The World's Northernmost Chinatown." (The price tag is unclear.) You can see the sun all 24 hours.”. Kirkenes Mayor Rune Rafaelsen. To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader. “We need jobs — we need the youth to stay, not going away.”. The lack of interest and financing have done little to dampen Rafaelsen's enthusiasm. The town of Alta also has port facilities in the town center, and European route E6 passes through Alta. His office is in the small town Kirkenes — population a little over 3,500 — which overlooks the icy gray Barents Sea. To leverage this, Rafaelsen wants to turn his tiny town into a major logistical hub, including a massive port and train line to Finland. The polar region has few ports, roads and railway links, according to Adam Lajeunesse, a researcher who focuses on Arctic marine security and teaches at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Rune Rafaelsen, the Mayor of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norwegian border, told reporters that his first trip by electric car to Murmansk had inspired him to take part in the project. Rafaelsen loves the view: “It’s a very nice view, especially in the summer when you have the midnight sun is not going down in the horizon. Norwegians who worked in Murmansk were contacted as potential informants for the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST). In addition Widerøe uses the airport as a hub to regional airports throughout Finnmark. Kirkenes, Norway. In Kirkenes and Lapland, regional politicians have hoped that such a railway would spur economic growth, more infrastructure and create jobs. Rafaelsen’s infrastructure plan has backing from some businesses in the area. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. Mayor of the Sør-Varanger municipality in which Kirkenes is located, run through the history of the complex borders in the place in which he was born and raised. Residents and officials have questioned the commercial and environmental viability of the mayor's big idea, as well as raising concerns about his overtures to China. The municipality has given a green light for a new, bigger harbor, but it doesn’t have the money to build it. Listen Download Jan 18, 2020. by: Jackie Northam. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. Travelers can jump on the Hurtigruten, a popular coastal cruiser that meanders through fjords down to Norway’s southern city of Bergen. «Just 50 km from here there are thousands of spent nuclear fuel elements,» says Kirkenes town Mayor Rune Rafaelsen. Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB), International Association of Audio Information Services, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Report. “They are interested to see if this is possible.”. Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. But Thomas Nilsen, a journalist who covers Arctic issues for the Independent Barents Observer, says he doesn't see Kirkenes ever becoming the new Singapore. "I have promoted it a lot in China, and the Chinese [have] been here to look at the possibility," he says. Residents and officials have questioned the commercial and environmental viability of the mayor’s big idea, as well as raising concerns about his overtures to China. Kirkenes' Samovar theatre company performs in both Norway and Russia, and has Russian and Norwegians employees. With the Frode Berg case as a backdrop, Mayor Rune Rafaelsen of Arbeiderpartiet (Ap) spoke of events he took up eight to nine years ago. Looking out across a foggy harbor toward a peninsula jutting off the Norwegian coast, Rune Rafaelsen has a bold plan that could raise the profile of his remote Arctic town — with a little help, he hopes, from China. But Rafaelsen says not everyone in town was happy with the festival's theme. His office is in the small town Kirkenes — … Russian choreographer Nikolai Shchetnev feels at home and is thinking of applying for dual nationality. The voice of a priest, Torbjørn Brox Webber, can be heard from the high podium: "God, thou, who created us differently, as colours in the rainbow," began the reverend father of a Lutheran church. Yet some Norwegian businesses say they're on board. Free Norwegian forces arrived from Britain and liberated the rest of the county. “And so many people [in the Arctic] are looking at China as a potential source of cash, of investment capital.”. Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk (Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk) Mining industry invests heavily in the border town of Kirkenes, but for the municipality board there are more costs and too little income from mining. "They are interested to see if this is possible.". The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere on the planet. “Now you can go from Asia to Europe through the Northern Sea Route. His office is in the small town Kirkenes — … Kjell Stokvik, managing director for the Center for High North Logistics, a local subsidiary of Norway's Tschudi Shipping Co., says developing a major hub could help increase employment in an isolated area with a dwindling population. Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere on the planet. Born and bred in Kirkenes, the mayor — a member of Norway's Labor Party — is a die-hard booster of his town, and he has been looking elsewhere for investors. Rune Rafaelsen walks toward the harbor of Kirkenes, Norway. A rail line could harm their livelihoods and culture, Sami leaders and the working group said. Born and bred in Kirkenes, the mayor — a member of Norway's Labor Party — is a die-hard booster of his town, and he has been looking elsewhere for investors. While the melting sea ice has alarmed scientists and residents, newly accessible waterways mean commercial ships are increasingly plowing along polar lanes. Melting ice means ships are plowing along polar lanes, so Rune Rafaelsen wants Chinese investors to help turn the small town of Kirkenes into a major logistics hub. Rafaelsen has visited China several times to meet with government officials and business people, hoping to build interest in a Norwegian logistical hub. Kirkenes Airport, Høybuktmoen is operated by the state-owned Avinor and serves as the main primary airport for eastern Finnmark county. "I have promoted it a lot in China, and the Chinese [have] been here to look at the possibility," he says. He is courting Chinese investors to help carry out the projects. "They are interested to see if this is possible." He is the mayor of Kirkenes, a town in northeastern Norway that lies just a short distance from some of Norilsk Nickel’s operations on Russia’s Kola Peninsula. • Mayor (2015) Monica Nielsen : Area • Total: 3,849.47 km 2 (1,486.29 sq mi) • Land: 3,652.76 km 2 (1,410.34 sq ... Tromsø, Vadsø, and Kirkenes. Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. But doubters abound. // NPR, Claire Harbage Kirkenes Mayor Rune Rafaelsen. However, after taking the town of Kirkenes on 25 October 1944 (as the first town in Norway), the Red Army did not attempt further offensives in Norway. But a Norwegian news website, the Independent Barents Observer, in June 2019 cited an executive at China Ocean Shipping Co. who sounded optimistic about Kirkenes. The mayor of the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes, Linda Beate Randal, has written a letter to the Norwegian Foreign Minister asking him to ease the visa application prosess for Nikel citizens and opening a Norwegian consulate office in the Russian border town. Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. A Mayor In Norway's Arctic Looks To China To Reinvent His Frontier Town . A binational working group study concluded in late 2018 that the project, estimated to cost more than $3 billion, will not be “financially feasible.”. The mayor of the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes, Linda Beate Randal, has written a letter to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, asking him to ease the visa application prosess for Nikel citizens by opening a Norwegian consulate office in the Russian border town. Sydvaranger Mine could be imposed on a new tax if the mayor of Sør-Varanger is heard by the Governemt. By Jackie Northam • Jan 18, 2020 . Looking out across a foggy harbor toward a peninsula jutting off the Norwegian coast, Rune Rafaelsen has a bold plan that could raise the profile of his remote Arctic town — with a little help, he hopes, from China. He envisions building a massive new container terminal and a 300-mile railway to the city of Rovaniemi in neighboring Finland, which would key to moving cargo into Western Europe. Kirkenes’ position at the western end of the newly-accessible Northern Sea Route makes its port an attractive prospect. His aspirations may sound wildly high: "Our plan is that you should [have] 10 trains from Kirkenes every day ... and we should handle about 1 million containers [per year]," he says. Cecilie Hansen, former Mayor of Kirkenes in Arctic Norway, says the plant in Nikel, northwest Russia, should be forced to reduce production over pollution exceeding air quality standards. He is courting Chinese investors to help carry out the projects. Still, Rafaelsen believes it is only a matter of time before investors will want to help him realize his dream of building a hub for the Arctic. NPR has contacted the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. about its Arctic strategies but it did not immediately provide comment for this special series. An Arctic railway, meanwhile, would need buy-in from the Norwegian and Finnish governments. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station. Rune Rafaelsen, mayor of Kirkenes, in Arctic Norway. Acrobat Reader. “I have promoted it a lot in China, and the Chinese [have] been here to look at the possibility,” he says. China is "starting to open to the possibility of expanded shipping throughout the Arctic," says Marc Lanteigne, who teaches political science at Norway's University of Tromso. "Now you can go from Asia to Europe through the Northern Sea Route. Kirkenes was festooned with red lanterns and the Chinese ambassador to Norway paid a visit. Rafaelsen says a logistical hub would provide a huge boost for Kirkenes’ economy. Experts also see infrastructural needs in the area. To leverage this, Rafaelsen wants to turn his tiny town into a major logistical hub, including a massive port and train line to Finland. The appearance, appliance and acceptance of twin-cities concept in Nikel and Kirkenes The idea of establishing twinning agreement in 2008 was formulated by Jonas Gahr Støre, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway and sent in a letter directly to the mayor of Sør-Varanger commune Linda Beate Randal. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. And the ice is decreasing. Melting ice means ships are plowing along polar lanes, so Rune Rafaelsen wants Chinese investors to help turn the small town of Kirkenes into a major logistics hub. Still, Rafaelsen believes it is only a matter of time before investors will want to help him realize his dream of building a hub for the Arctic. When war was over, more than 70,000 people were left homeless in Finnmark. Born and bred in Kirkenes, the mayor — a member of Norway's Labor Party — is a die-hard booster of his town, and he has been looking elsewhere for investors. China already sails ships carrying consumer goods through Arctic waters. Kirkenes residents have long decried what they’ve described as “Soviet death clouds” emanating from the company’s operations and blowing across the border. "The issue here is population, especially in the eastern part of northern Norway," Stokvik says. Barents Spektakel will give Wong Kar-wai vibes to Kirkenes for just five days, but there is long-term potential for Chinese impact, too. China already sails ships carrying consumer goods through Arctic waters. But It Has The Rare Earth Minerals America Wants, California Sees Two-Day Record Of Coronavirus Deaths, California Suspends 1.4 Million Virus Unemployment Claims, California Hospitals Prepping For Grim COVID-19 Choices, Young Scientsists: The Human Body Virtual Program, Live Blog: San Diego County Reports 3,815 New COVID-19 Infections As Hospitalizations Increase, San Diego County Opening Regional COVID-19 'Vaccination Pods', San Diego County Reports 3,013 New COVID-19 Cases, Six Deaths, San Diego County Officials Push People To Use New Small Business Relief Program, County Reports 56 Deaths, Hospitalizations Surge As COVID-19 Variant Spreads, KPBS Financial The voice of a priest, Torbjørn Brox Webber, can be heard from the high podium: "God, thou, who created us differently, as colours in the rainbow," began the reverend father of a Lutheran church. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. The distance to southern Scandinavia is considerably shorter over European route E45 and northern Finland. The county also has a County Governor (fylkesmann) who is the representative of the King and Government of Norway. The Norwegian government drew up a concept study for a mega-port for the area. Share Tweet Email Tweet Email “In the summer I first arrived with Bellona on an electric car from to Murmansk from Kirkenes, I promised that by the end of the year we would build a fast charging station in Kirkenes,” he said. There has also been pushback from the Sami, an indigenous people who herd reindeer across northern Finland. Claire Harbage / NPR Kirkenes' economy has traditionally relied on fishing and iron-ore mining, and it has become a tourist destination. “People get angry. "It really shows that China wants to be taken seriously as an Arctic player.". China is “starting to open to the possibility of expanded shipping throughout the Arctic,” says Marc Lanteigne, who teaches political science at Norway’s University of Tromso. Ongoing Rune Rafaelsen walks toward the harbor of Kirkenes, Norway. Rune Rafalesen, Mayor of Kirkenes in Arctic Norway, delivers a speech in Nikel. Share Tweet Email Tweet Email And so Kirkenes is the first western harbor you meet when you start from Shanghai and go along the Russian sub-Siberian coast,” says Rafaelsen. His aspirations may sound wildly high: “Our plan is that you should [have] 10 trains from Kirkenes every day … and we should handle about 1 million containers [per year],” he says. “Kirkenes is a Russian town in Norway,” said Rune Rafaelsen, the mayor of Soer-Varanger municipality which includes Kirkenes. His office is in the small town Kirkenes — population a little over 3,500 — which overlooks the icy gray Barents Sea. “But when the ice is decreasing, you can go from Asia to Europe through the Northern Sea Route and my town Kirkenes is the first western harbor you meet when you start out from Shanghai and go along the Russian sub-Siberian coast. Rafaelsen says a logistical hub would provide a huge boost for Kirkenes' economy. Rune Rafaelsen is Mayor of Kirkenes. Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Economy. “The issue here is population, especially in the eastern part of northern Norway,” Stokvik says. This past June, on a cold and blustery day, I listened to Rune Rafaelsen, the outspoken Mayor of the Sør-Varanger municipality in which Kirkenes is located, run through the history of the complex borders in the place in which he was born and raised. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. июля 14, 2016 . Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning. The lack of interest and financing have done little to dampen Rafaelsen’s enthusiasm. He is the mayor of Sor-Varanger, a municipality in the far northeast corner of Norway, close to the Russian border. Kirkenes Harbor is currently quiet, but the mayor hopes to build it into a logistical hub 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. By Jackie Northam • Jan 18, 2020 . (Claire Harbage/NPR) That could place NATO ally Norway on the map of China's "Polar Silk Road" plan for ships voyaging across the Arctic — if Rafaelsen's port and rail dream ever comes true. “If there would be a railway between Rovaniemi and Kirkenes, then Kirkenes would be a gateway for those products from Finland and to somewhere far east,” Chen Feng, COSCO’s general director of marketing and sales, told the website. until January 30, 2021, Stream or tune in Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV + Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2, 'We Have Made Mistakes': Norway Cruise Company Reports COVID-19 Outbreak, There Is A Place With No Social Distancing And No Coronavirus, Pandemic Delays Return Of Arctic Researchers, Greenland Is Not For Sale. In 1814, after Norway and Denmark lost the war against Sweden, the two countries entered into a personal union with their victorious neighbour. The mayor of Sør-Varanger admits he usually don’t need help to be seen or heard. 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