Russian Coal Mining in Svalbard - An Examination of Sovereingty and Arctic Cooperation

Zoe Kathrine Svendsen Borra, Luna Dan Persson, Julie Sejr Reventlow & Narin Zimbalista

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This project sets out to examine how Russia is utilising coal mining in Svalbard to project, influence alongside an examination of Norwegian sovereignty and Arctic cooperation. This qualitative research project was done in order to examine the relation between Russia and Norway utilizing three types of documents: legal documents, governmental publications and articles. The qualitative method of thematic coding was used to investigate the following documents: The Mining Code for Spitsbergen (1925), Svalbard Treaty (1920), United Nation Convention on the law of the sea (1982). Furthermore, the qualitative method of summarizing content analysis was used to analyze the following documents: The Kremlin Transcript of “meeting with leaders of mining regions” (2019), The Norwegian White Paper on Svalbard (2015-2016) and two web articles, one from The Barents Observer (2017) and one from The Arctic Institute (2017). Themes and subthemes were derived from two international relations theories; constructivism and realism, which were applied to the aforementioned documents through the qualitative methods. This research project aimed at providing a theoretical understanding of the actions taken by both Norway and Russia in Svalbard, with emphasis on the ways in which the legal documents have contributed in constructing norms and rules, and how this affects the contemporary jurisdiction of Svalbard. Our main empirical findings illustrated that both nations are constructing an Arctic identity, thereby legitimizing themselves as actors. Moreover, Russian and Norwegian behaviour in Svalbard showcases that they inherently disagree and find each other’s behaviour threatening. This project concludes that Svalbard is a potent area within the Arctic that represents the power pursuit resulting from climate-induced shift in geopolitics.

UddannelserBasis - International Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato16 dec. 2019
Antal sider68
VejledereOle Helby Petersen