Bridge Over Troubled Water

Project Spotlight: Live events from Kirkenes explore the status and history of Norwegian-Russian relations.

Nänkai akändür dän äłek’e ädesedèyè Jų̃ ts’e’į uts’an kwäts’eden-ji
A graphic showing a group of people on a stage, at right, with an image of a person’s face on a set of TV screens listening, at left. The left side of the image is labeled “Nikel” and the right side is labeled “Kirkenes,” with the title “Bridge of troubled water” at bottom.

Join the Barents Secretariat and Pikene på Broen for a two-part event on Thursday June 9. All times are CET (Central European Time). 

Schedule of Events

19:00 CET
Part I: “Bridge over troubled water”
Hosted by Barents Secretariat
Live broadcast from Kirkenes and streamed on the Arctic Arts Summit online platform

20:30 CET
Part II: Samizdat in a new era
Hosted by Pikene på Broen
Pre-registration required. To join Kvartirnik ONLINE (or OFFLINE in Kirkenes) get in touch with Evgeny Goman: evgeny [at]

Credit: These videos were originally published by the Barents Secretariat on June 15, 2022. COURTESY BARENTS SECRETARIAT. 

“Bridge over troubled water”  

Norwegian–Russian relations are at a freezing level as war rages in Ukraine. What kind of cooperation do we see for the future as these historically close ties are navigating through troubled water? 

In cooperation with the art curators Pikene på Broen, The Barents Secretariat invites viewers to a live online Talking Barents event. What have been the accomplishments during 30 years of Barents cooperation, and what kind of possibilities do we see for the future?  

Carl Christian Lein Størmer organized a broadcasting bridge between Kirkenes and Nikel three days after the Russian invasion in Ukraine. The model was based on a similar broadcast between TV studios in Tromsø and Murmansk during the cold war in the late 1980s. As borders seem to be closed for a long time ahead, we ask Størmer: Are digital bridges the only contact we can plan for?  

During the Barents Spektakel in February, Pikene på Broen organized an art project in the Pasvik Valley, using sound to communicate across the border to Russia. However, the sounds from Norway were never responded to from the Russian side. Follow our live broadcast to hear Evgeny Goman from Pikene på Broen explain why the Russian partners were not able to respond to the Norwegian sounds. 


Kvartirnik: Samizdat in a new era

Samizdat is translated from Russian as self-publishing. This was a popular anti-censorship grassroots practice when manually produced and copied publications were passed from reader to reader because most printing devices required permission to access. Is it coming back today with the digital prints we are leaving?

The term “kvartirnik” appeared in the Soviet Union for informal events held in apartments by musicians, actors and poets after being banned from performing on stage because they didn’t fit the Soviet cultural agenda.



Dmitry Kozlov is a сandidate of historical sciences and researcher of social history of the late Soviet culture. Dmitry has published works on samizdat, underground literature, dissidents and underground political groups. Dmitry will tell us about samizdat. How is it different from the other forms of independent book publishing? Who wrote, spread and read underground texts in the late Soviet period? And why is it so important to study samizdat today? 

Anastasia Patsey is a curator based in St. Petersburg, Russia and working internationally. Anastasia graduated from the St. Petersburg State Stieglitz Art Academy and holds a dual Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies from St. Petersburg State University and Bard College, New York. She will speak on tech in samizdat. Typewriters, carbon paper, photography, X-rays, silkscreening—all of these were used to publish underground journals, albums and records. This is how the recognizable esthetics of the unofficial USSR publications appeared. And it still can inspire today.

The Norwegian Barents Secretariat strongly condemns Russia’s unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine.

The Barents Cooperation was established as a peace project in 1993, after 45 years of cold war. The foundation of the Barents Cooperation has always been people-to-people contact. The goal of the Barents cooperation is to remove cultural barriers and to build bridges across borders. During almost 30 years, we have gone from closed borders to close ties between the people in the Barents Region. The cooperation between people from all areas of society like schools, municipalities, NGOs and cultural institutions, the so-called people-to people-perspective, is an important keystone. Through meetings between people in the region we build down barriers and increase our mutual understanding.

Unfortunately, people-to-people cross-border cooperation in the north has long been constrained due to the increasingly authoritarian regime in Russia. The situation for civil society is now extremely difficult, and the uncertainty arising from Russia’s military attacks makes effective cross-border cooperation even more challenging. Unfortunately, the impacts of this will be felt at the local level, particularly by people living in the north.

In our spotlight the Norwegian Barents Secretariat will focus on the positive and successful cooperation between artists and cultural institutions that normally takes place across the Norwegian-Russian border.

While the Norwegian Barents Secretariat stands behind the Norwegian government’s demand that Russia immediately ceases its military operations and seeks a peaceful solution, we will continue to support people-to-people cooperation and contact. In the current situation we have suspended contact and cooperation with official Russian entities, but encourage contact and cooperation with independent Russian artists and organisations.