Defending Norway | The Compass

Presenter: Professor Mats Berdal, Dept of War Studies, King’s College, London
BBC World Service | 3 & 10 November 2016 | BBC iPlayer Radio

Producer | Catriona Oliphant
Executive Producer | Alan Hall

Russia’s actions in the Crimea and Ukraine, and the modernising of its armed forces at home, are causing anxiety in the High North. Here Norwegian (as well as broader Western) security and economic interests converge with those of Russia, and can conflict. Will the High North be the next flashpoint in a new Cold War?

With contributions from:
Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norwegian Defence Minister | Borge Brende, Norwegian Foreign Minister | Lt General Rune Jakobsen, Commander, Norwegian Joint Headquarters | Knut Hauge, Norwegian Ambassador to NATO | Knut Erik Jensen, award-winning film director of Cool and Crazy (Heftig og begeistret) | Dr Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Emerging Security Challenges, NATO | Andrey Kortunov, Director General, Russian International Affairs Council, Moscow | Ivo Daalder, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs & former US Ambassador to NATO | Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director, Royal United Services Institute, London.

Episode 1 – Our Friends, the Russians | 3 November 2016


Kirkenes Airport, Finnmark, Norway | August 2016

Norway is adept at walking the tightrope between co-operation and self-protection in its relations with the former Soviet Union. A founding member of NATO, this tiny oil-rich state has been a key player in promoting stability in the region.

Defence expert Mats Berdal, a Norwegian national now living in London, travels to Kirkenes in the High North to meet those who live and work along the Russian border.

Episode 2 – A New Cold War? | 10 November 2016


Current tensions in West-Russia relations threaten to jeopardise the fragile stability of the High North. In Oslo, defence has been high on the government’s agenda with increased spending on the Norwegian Armed Forces proposed for 2017-2020. Are we entering a new Cold War?

It’s a vexed question, as defence expert Mats Berdal discovers when he canvasses opinions in Oslo, Moscow, Brussels, London and the US.

Russian border post, Finnmark, Norway | August 2016

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