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The Pechenga-Nikel Combine 1921-2012

This project, which is the doctoral thesis of FNI Research Fellow Lars Rowe, describes the history of the Pechenga-Nikel Combine and interprets it in light of three main policy areas: (i) Resource management, (ii) Security policy and (iii) Environmental policy.

The nickel combine is located in a historically contested area between Russia (later the Soviet Union), Finland and Norway. The combine itself was established by a Finnish/Canadian consortium, was on German hands during most of World War 2, before the area became included in the Soviet Union after the war. The emphasis on the three mentioned policy areas will vary in the thesis, as it did in Pechenga-Nikel combine's history.

The first period (1934-1939) is a time of pioneer industrial establishment in the Arctic. Here resource management motives are most important, although security aspects became increasingly central as the world powers headed to war. For the second period (1939-1944), when the combine was mostly on German hands, security policy will be the main frame for interpretation. The third period (1944-1985) is characterised by what we could call Socialist industrialisation. In this period, aspects connected to Soviet resource management and security policies will be examined. The last period (1985-2004) is a period of upheaval. The Soviet Union came to an end, resulting in a new reality for the combine. Environmental concerns became important, perhaps more in neighbouring Norway and Finland than in Russia. The main focus in this period will be on environmental politics.

While the thesis never departs from the main object of study, the Pechenga-Nikel combine, it will aim to shed light on general aspects of East-West relations in the period 1921-2012.

Project leader: Lars Rowe

Project period: 2004-2013


Rowe, Lars, Pechenganikel: Soviet Industry, Russian Pollution, and the Outside World. Ph.D. dissertation, Faculty og Humanities, University of Oslo, 2013, 339 p.

Rowe, Lars, 'Det brysomme nikkelverket' ('The Troublesome Nickel Plant'), Nordlys, 2 March 2009. In Norwegian.

Rowe, Lars, 'Det brysomme nikkelverket' ('The Troublesome Nickel Plant'). Fortid, Vol 5, No 4, 2008, pp. 23-28. In Norwegian.

Hønneland, Geir and Lars Rowe, Fra svarte skyer til helleristninger: Norsk-russisk miljøvernsamarbeid gjennom 20 år ('From Dark Skies to Rock Carvings: 20 Years of Norwegian-Russian Environmental Cooperation'). Trondheim, Tapir Academic Press, 2008, 186 p. In Norwegian.
 Related focal points of research:

   Arctic and Russian politics

Project funding:

   Norwegian Ministry of Defence

Related FNI document:

   Nordområdeforskning ved FNI ('FNI's Research on the High North'). Presentation brochure in Norwegian (PDF , 0.6 Mb)

Recent relevant FNI News:

Lars Rowe Obtains PhD on the History of the Pechenga Nickel Plant (12.02.2013)

Recent media coverage:

'Millioner til russiske milliardærer' ('Millions to Russian Billionaires'), Aftenposten, 27.05.2008. In Norwegian.

'Russland-støtte tilbake til Norge' ('Economic Support to Russia Returns to Norway'), Aftenposten, 8 June 2007. In Norwegian.

Fridtjof Nansen Institute
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