Crossing the Borders: Changes 
and Challenges of the Russian Politics In The Arctic (1990s-2000s)

Course unit code: Б3.ДВ3.

Department: Institute of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences.

Type of course unit (compulsory, optional): Theoretical, optional.

Level of course unit (e.g. first, second or third cycle; sub-level if applicable): First (bachelor level). Advanced emphasis course.

Year of study (if applicable): recommendedafter completing at least one year of undergraduate studies.

Semester/trimester when the course unit is delivered: Spring semester

Number of ECTS credits allocated: 10 ECTS

Name of lecturer(s): Prof. Andrey V. Repnevskiy, As. Prof. Tatiana P. Teterevleva, As. Prof. Oxana V. Zaretskaia, As. Prof. Maria A. Lvova, As. Prof. Ivan V. Saveliev, Assistant Nikolay A. Danilov.

Course evaluation:

The course is evaluated annually by students by mid-term evaluation and final evaluation. These evaluations are included in the university’s quality assurance system.

Course contents:

The course emphasizes the key issues of the experience of border crossing. The idea of the Arctic divided and connected/joined by the borders is taught through ethno-demographic, security and border/frontier issues.

The course aims:

  1. to provide both international students and the students of the Northern Arctic Federal university with knowledge and understanding of changes and challenges of the Russian Politics from the prospect of society and culture, the environment and security;
  2. to explore how the political issues and institutions impact people’s life in the Arctic.

The course consists of 3 Modules.

Module 1. Crossing the Borders: Historical Background:.

Key idea: historical experience of border building and border crossing.


  • Contacts, Rivalry and Cooperation in the Barents Region (1200s —beginning of 1800s);

  • Border Demarcation and the History of Diplomatic Relations (1800s — 1900s);

  • Soviet-Scandinavian Economic Relations in the Barents Region (1917-1990s);

  • Regionalism in the Foreign Policy of Scandinavian Countries (1930s-1980s);

  • The Establishment and Development BEAR in 1990s.

Module 2. Crossing the Borders: the Security Issues

Key idea: security issues and borders


  • Conceptualizing security: security issues in the region (from state to human security), including climate change, energy security, national security;
  • Globalization: from global village to clash of civilizations (security prospects);
  • Regional development and environmental change (habitat, regional issues).

Module 3. Crossing the Borders: Ethno-Demographic Dimension.

Key idea: Arctic peoples divided and connected/joined by the borders.


  • Legal Status of the indigenous peoples in the National Legal Systems
  • The concept of national minorities and the history of the indigenous peoples rights protection;
  • Transborder contacts & transborder mobility, migration and diasporas (i.e. Russian) in the Nordic countries.

Learning outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the ethno-demographic situation in the Arctic countries, and BEAR in particular
  • have knowledge about the key features and the main stages of the Arctic and Circumpolar regions security policy and their transformation into the new international space and into field of the strategic state interests during the first half of 20th century within the globalization and regionalization context
  • be familiar with the content, key stages and directions of Russian foreign policy and international relations in the Arctic and Circumpolar region.

Especially recommended elective courses:


Offered as a free-standing course:



General requirements for study competence at the university level in Humanities, Social and Political Sciences.

Recommended previous knowledge:

At least one year of undergraduate studies, preferably within the field of social sciences, or the core courses of the Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies.

Mode of delivery:

On campus and online.

Learning activities and teaching methods:

On campus and online lectures, seminars and compulsory written assignments (answer to module questions).

Assessment methods and criteria:

Portfolio made up of answers to module questions and a final online student paper using the regular Norwegian grading system (A-F).

Work placement:


Recommended or required reading:

  • International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals. Steiner, Henry J. and Philip Alston (eds.) Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century: A Global Challenge; Kathleen E. Mahoney and Paul Mahoney (eds.); Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, Boston, Londen, 1993.
  • Nielsen J.P. The Russia of the Tsar and North Norway. «The Russian Danger» Revisited // Русский Север и Север Европы в XVII — XX веках: проблемы изучения истории регионов и международных отношений. Материалы второй российской методической школы аспирантов и молодых преподавателей. Архангельск: КИРА, 2005. P. 30 — 54.
  • Marsico K. Indigenous Peoples’ Rights — Abdo Group, 2011Russia and Norway: Physical and Symbolic Borders / eds.: T. Jackson, J.P. Nielsen. M.: Languages of Slavonic culture, 2005. 216 p.
  • Salmon P. Scandinavia and the Great Powers, 1890 — 1940. Cambridge: University Press, 1997. 422 p.
  • Ulfstein G. The Svalbard Treaty. From Terra Nullius to Norwegian Sovereignty. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1995. 572 p.

The reading list can be subject to amendments at semester start.

Study progression requirement: