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Neighbourly Asymmetry: Norway and Russia 1814-2014

Tildelt: kr 3,0 mill.

The purpose of "Neighbourly Asymmetry: Norway and Russia 1814-2014" is to research the historical relations between Norway and Russia / the Soviet Union in the period 1814-2014. It will result in two richly illustrated volumes, which will be an important contribution to the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution (2014). The objective is twofold; 1) to increase the knowledge about Norwegian-Russian relations among the general public and 2) to achieve a noticeable increase in research competence a nd recruitment to the field, both in Norway and Russia. The Pomor State University in Arkhangelsk and the Institute of General History, Russian Academy of Sciences, will be the main cooperative partners on the Russian side, the Norwegian Institute for D efence Studies on the Norwegian. The editorial board will also consist of representatives from both countries.The research is going to comprise the entire field of Norwegian-Russian bilateral relations, but with a special emphasis on the northern dimensio n. There are two complementary, overarching perspectives inherent in the conception "neighbourly asymmetry": The first and most obvious is Russia's role as a great power, versus Norway's position as a small state, a disparity that has been decisive for No rwegian security orientation for a very long time. If we turn our attention from the inter-state level to civil society a converse picture appears: On this level weakness is characteristic of Russia, while Norway for historical reasons has a stronger orga nization from below and a more even dispersion of social assets. The disparities in this regard at the Norwegian-Russian border were striking already in the 19th century, and are even more so today. A central, overarching question is how the long-lasting Norwegian-Russian stability can be explained, in spite of this twofold asymmetry? The project will be carried through in the period 2008-2014.