Nordisk Østforum, Vol 27, No 4, 2013, pp. 327-351.
The Svalbard (Spitsbergen) archipelago is governed on the basis of the Svalbard Treaty of 1920, which gives Norway sovereignty over Svalbard and thus responsibility for administering the islands, while at the same time alloqing all signatory states equal rights to extracting natural resources an upholding other commercial activities. While most of the economic "adventures" of the early 20th century found Svalbard to be of little economic interest, the Soviet Union maintained a strong presence throughout the century, thus de facto making Svalbard a place for bilateral Soviet-Norwegian relations. The arcticle explores how Norway, starting in the 1960s, has gradually attempted to increase its management in the Soviet, and later Russian, settlements, and increasingly so after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Environmental issues have been instrumental in improving Norway's management capabilities, which have caused frustration in Moscow.