Norway invites Russia’s Lavrov for 2019 commemoration of Red Army’s liberation of Arctic Finnmark

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Lavrov laid wreaths at the monument to Soviet soldier in Kirkenes in 2014 at the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Finnmark from German occupation by the Soviet Red Army. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
October 2019 will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Norway’s northernmost region from Nazi occupation by the Red Army.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is likely to represent the Russian government when the two countries together will celebrate that Soviet soldiers were the first to oust occupation forces from Norway in 1944.

The foreign ministry in Oslo says to the Barents Observer that there is a good dialogue with Russian authorities about the 2019 celebration.

Kirkenes was the first Norwegian town to celebrate freedom when the Red Army arrived on October 24th and Nazi-German forces retreated further west and south in Norway.

Sergey Lavrov talking to World War II veterans in Kirkenes, Arctic Norway in October 2014. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Lavrov present for 70th anniversary

Sergey Lavrov was also present in Kirkenes when the 70th anniversary was marked in October 2014. Like in 2014, high-ranking Norwegian officials will also welcome the Russian Foreign Minister next October. The Norwegian King, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister participated in the 2014 celebrations.

The Russian Foreign Minister has not returned to Norway since 2014, while Norway’s Foreign Minister visited northern Russia three times last year after a three-year pause in meetings following the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine.

Press spokesperson Frode Overland Andersen with the Foreign Ministry in Oslo writes in an e-mail to the Barents Observer that Norwegian and Russian authorities have had a good dialogue about next year’s liberation anniversary in Finnmark.

“As like previous celebrations, Norwegian authorities will be represented on high-level in Kirkenes,” Overland Andersen says.

From the 2014 press conference with Sergey Lavrov and (then) Foreign Minister of Norway, Børge Brende. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

“It is obvious that Russian authorities will be invited on high-level. It is common practice with such events that there is a close dialogue between out two countries at diplomatic level to clarify such things in advance. That goes for all such visits.”

“Prime Minister Erna Solberg brought it up with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev when they met last week (in Brussels). The question has also been brought up with both the Russian Foreign Minister and the Deputy Foreign Minister,” Overland Andersen says.

Related stories from around the North:

Finland: Civil War still divides Finland after 100 years, poll suggests, Yle News

Norway: History revealed by WW2 wrecks in Norway’s Arctic fjords, Barents Observer

Russia: Finnish grave hunter brings over 100 war dead home from Russia for burial, Yle News

United States: Remembering struggles of Alaska’s once oldest WWII veteran, Alaksa Dispatch News

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Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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