Poljarnyj vestnik 2022-06-27T12:51:08+02:00 Tore Nesset Open Journal Systems Poljarnyj vestnik is an Open Access journal published under the auspices of the Norwegian Association of Slavists. The journal publishes scholarly articles on Slavic languages, literatures and cultures. Poljarnyj vestnik is published by Septentrio Academic Publishing at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Svalbard Studies 2022-06-07T13:58:49+02:00 Yngvar Steinholt Andrei Rogatchevski <p>This short article offers an introduction to Poljarnyj Vestnik’s special issue on Svalbard Studies.</p> 2022-06-16T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Yngvar Steinholt, Andrei Rogatchevski Spitsbergen Through The Times 2022-06-13T14:59:02+02:00 Frigga Kruse <p>British mining and exploration companies were active in Spitsbergen, today Svalbard, between 1904 and 1953. This period was marked by events like the First World War and the signing of the Spitsbergen Treaty, some say Svalbard Treaty, and was therefore politically charged. This article investigates the British Arctic enterprise as portrayed in an influential newspaper, the <em>London Times</em>, where a diverse range of items appeared across the sections Advertising, Business, News, Editorials, and Letters to the Editor. Reports of the London Stock Exchange and the <em>London Gazette</em> serve as factual counterweights to potentially subjective media coverage. In four distinct phases, we see the archipelago’s emergence in global politics, post-war optimism until the settlement of all claim disputes in 1927, a quiet phase caused by global economic depression, and renewed but short-lived optimism after the Second World War. The paper concludes that the British Government took a stance in the Spitsbergen Question already in 1907, and the <em>Times</em> could not be instrumentalised to change this official political opinion. The study offers a baseline for new and comparative research using similar historical sources.</p> 2022-06-16T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Frigga Kruse Mining for Sovereignty? Norwegian Coal Companies and the Quest for Supremacy over Svalbard 1916-1925 2022-06-13T15:15:09+02:00 Thor Bjørn Arlov <p>At the outbreak of the First World War there was virtually no Norwegian coalmining activity on the Spitsbergen archipelago. The handful of small coal companies that were formed in Norway around the turn of the century were either idle or had been bought up by foreign interests after a few years. During the war, however, several new private companies were established, most notably the Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani in 1916. Two years later, in 1918–1919, the Norwegian government stated its desire to acquire full sovereignty over the archipelago. The wish was granted by the treaty of 9 February 1920 that came as a result of the peace negotiations in Paris. This paper reviews the role of the Norwegian coal companies in Norway’s quest for supremacy over Svalbard during and after the First World War. Were private enterprises an instrument of the Norwegian government’s ambitions or was it the other way around? It is argued that private companies were instrumental in moving the political authorities from a passive to an active stance regarding sovereignty during the last phase of the war and through the peace conference in 1919. Their primary concern was to protect their own vested interests. However, as soon as sovereignty was secured in 1920, it was the government that actively used the companies as instruments to improve Norway’s position on the archipelago before implementing the treaty and settling the property rights.</p> <p>Note: I use the official toponym ‘Svalbard’, although before 1925 ‘Spitsbergen’ was more commonly used.</p> 2022-06-16T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Thor Bjørn Arlov Health Through the Space Lens 2022-06-13T15:33:55+02:00 Turid Austin Wæhler <p>The article discusses cultural perceptions and interpretations of health and illness in a Svalbard context through the analysis of the novels <em>Longyearbyen (2020) by the Norwegian writer Heidi Sævareid</em> and <em>The Arctic Novel (1964) by the Soviet writer </em>Vladlen Anchishkin. Both novels use Svalbard of the 1950s as a setting for portraying issues related to health and illness.</p> <p>It is evident from the analyses that issues related to health and illness were essential in both Norwegian and Russian settlements on Svalbard in the 1950s. Many of the same diseases and incidents, such as mining injuries, hypothermia and appendicitis, are prevalent in both novels. An interesting difference is that <em>The Arctic Novel </em>does not contain references to psychiatric diseases, even though they were presumably relevant for the inhabitants on Svalbard, irrespectively of their geographical provenance and social background.</p> <p>One of the overarching themes that arises from these texts, is how the spatial setting directly affects health and illness. Living on Svalbard has clear effects for the health and well-being of the main characters in both novels. Another fundamental theme is how individuals fit into a larger context. These themes are important also today, when discussing for instance access to health care in remote areas (such as Svalbard), or when exploring the international presence on Svalbard from a geopolitical perspective.</p> 2022-06-16T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Turid Austin Wæhler Norwegian and Russian Mining and Mining Communities in Monica Kristensen’s Oeuvre 2022-06-13T15:42:46+02:00 Lisbeth Pettersen Wærp <p>Monica Kristensen is a Norwegian glaciologist, meteorologist, polar explorer and author of fiction (crime novels) and nonfiction (about expeditions, Svalbard, The Kings Bay Affair, and Roald Amundsen). In her altogether five crime novels, all of which take place in Svalbard, the plot is inextricably bound to <em>place</em>, i.e. to the Arctic. In two of her five crime novels, <em>Kullunge</em> and <em>Den døde i Barentsburg</em>, crucial parts of the action take place in the coal mines of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. In her documentary book about the Kings Bay Affair she investigates the terrible mining accident in 1962 at Kings Bay&nbsp;mines that killed 21 miners. In this article I examine the literary construction of these specific places – the Arctic and the coal mines, or, the coal mines in the Arctic – in these three books, as well as the related political, ethical and existential questions of settlement and living conditions.</p> 2022-06-16T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Lisbeth Pettersen Wærp Spot the Miner 2022-06-27T12:51:08+02:00 Svetlana Sokolova <p>Coal mining is an industry that is associated with hard physical labor and harsh mental conditions. Modern artistic projects involving portraits of miners evolve as artists' responses to political and economic changes in the mining industry, which is currently in decline, and place a major focus on miner communities, rather than individual miners. This article presents an overview of relevant selected artistic projects, and supplements them with a small mini-gallery sketched by the author. The mini-gallery viewers have been invited to test their perception of miners based on a series of charcoal portraits representing men and women dressed in mining workwear and everyday clothes. Who in this mini-gallery is a miner, what serves as the basis for the respondents' guesswork, and, overall, how different is today’s perception of miners from those of the past centuries? Three main factors are outlined as potentially relevant for identifying miners: mining workwear, gender, and facial expression. The readers can compare their intuitive reactions with the results from an online experiment, which was presented in Norwegian, Russian, and English and collected 136 responses. Although the presence of mining workwear and male gender still carry a strong association with miners, the results reveal certain differences across Norway, Russia, and the United States. The article is interdisciplinary and combines aspects of art history, social studies and psychology with an artistic project.</p> 2022-06-27T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Svetlana Sokolova