When relations between Russia and the West cooled after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it looked for a while as if Norwegian-Russian co-operation would be fine. Yet over the past three years, Russia has engaged in a series of actions targeting Norway and Norwegian interests: the spying charge against Frode Berg and the raid on the Norwegian University Centre in St Petersburg; frequent fighter jet and bomber missions along the coast of Norway and major military exercises close to the border; the refusal of visas to Norwegian business leaders and politicians; and the public exposure of diplomats.
What is it about Norway’s behaviour that has provoked the Russian bear? What relationship do Russia’s political leadership really want to have with us? And what do ordinary Russians think about Norway, the only neighbouring country with which Russia has never engaged in armed conflict?
In this book, Russia expert Bernhard L. Mohr tries to find out how Norway appears to have ended up high on the Kremlin’s agenda. His Russian sources are many, from leading politicians and diplomats, through journalists and experts to young Russians urbanites. The book also takes the temperature of Russia in 2020 – a country where there appears to be an increasingly wide gap between the leaders and the population, and between the generations.
Journalist and editor Bernhard L. Mohr has been monitoring Russia closely since the turn of the millennium. His previous book, Why Do Russians Vote for Putin? (2017) enjoyed an extremely positive reception from critics and readers alike.
Well written, nuanced and full of insight
Mohr takes us behind the facades, into the homes and into the Russian way of thinking – far beyond the clichés about the vodka drinking, spontaneous and emotional Russian most into showing off strength. Russia is not synonymous with the regime of Putin. That Mohr also have a vivid drive in is his writing, as well as him being a grand storyteller, makes for a joyful reading.
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