Russia’s Foreign Ministry university MGIMO signs deal on Svalbard

The Russian General Consulate building in Barentsburg, Svalbard. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

The university that teaches Russia’s diplomats enters into cooperation with Trust Arktikugol, the Russian state company operating on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago.

Trust Arktikugol and its leader Ildar Neverov continues efforts to strengthen relations with key Russian research institutes and teaching institutions.

On the 11th of January, he was welcomed into the downtown Moscow office of MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov.

The rector, who in the 1980s served as first secretary at the USSR embassy in Washington DC, is interested in strengthening his powerful university’s role in the far northern Svalbard.

The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) is one of Russia’s leading universities. It is run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is teaching the lion’s share of Russia’s diplomats.

The memorandum of understanding and cooperation signed with the Arktikugol is to prepare the ground for MGIMO’s enhanced focus on the Norwegian archipelago.

The agreement outlines cooperation on personnel training in fields like international trade, logistics, environmental and climate security, and ESG, the university informs.

It is expected that MGIMO will assist the Trust in its ongoing projects and that several of the University’s institutes will be involved.

The signing ceremony was attended also by Trust Arktikugol Adviser Dmitry Negurtsa and several MGIMO institute leaders.

Russian research organisations Roshydromet and Kola Science Center are both represented in Barentsburg. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Among the latter was Vladimir Salamatov, the Director of the Institute of International Trade and Sustainable Development.

Following the signing of the document, Salamatov and Neverov continued discussions on the upcoming cooperation, MGIMO reports.

The Barents Observer has reached out to Trust Arktikugol for a comment, but got no feedback by the time of publishing this article.

Since he was appointed leader of Trust Arktikugol in 2022, Ildar Neverov has actively sought to boost Russia’s presence in the Norwegian archipelago. A number of controversial and provocative stunts have been conducted, including the organising of 9th of May parades and naval parades, as well as the erection of a Russian Orthodox cross in Pyramiden.

Neverov has also signed cooperation agreements with several more Russian research and teaching institutions, among them the Russian State Humanitarian University. He is also working for the establishment of a new research center in Pyramiden, the abandoned coal mining town.

Ildar Neverov has also taken part in the organisation of a number of seminars, public meetings and gatherings about Russia’s role in Svalbard.

Some of the events have taken place in the so-called Scandinavian Club at MGIMO. The Scandinavian Club is behind a new report titled “Spitsbergen 2033: perspectives for Russian presence.”

Related stories from around the North:

Norway: Isolated Russia invites faraway countries to Svalbard science center in Pyramiden, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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