As PM Jonas Gahr Støre has said countless times: We cannot do anything about geography, Russia is where it is. We have to live with it and adapt accordingly. That has been the obvious conclusion. But now that line seems abandoned. Russia draws the conclusion: Norway acts deliberately provocatively and creates “deliberate hostility towards Russia”.

This is serious. In the shadow of the war, the Norwegian authorities have set out on a course that creates enmity between Norway and Russia. This could cause lasting damage to relations and Russia is signaling that even if the war should end in the foreseeable future, the provocations will not be forgotten.

– On 13 April 2023, the Norwegian authorities took yet another provocative and unfriendly step towards our country by declaring 15 employees at the Russian embassy in Norway “persona non grata”, says a message from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

– We see this decision as a deliberate stirring up of hostility towards Russia. No specific accusations are being made against Russian diplomats, it says. (NTB)

It is one thing to be the smartest guy in the class when it comes to dialogue and humanitarian assistance. Another thing is to be the best at introducing sanctions, breaking connections and isolating a large neighbour. When this also affects the diplomats to an extent the likes of which we have hardly seen, it is no wonder that the Russians react.

Norwegian media also get short shrift because they have helped whip up the mood, according to the Russians.

During the Cold War, restrictive steps towards the Soviet Union were taken seriously and expulsions were big issues. Now that we have a hot war, the near severance of diplomatic relations between Russia and Norway is a matter that does not seem to affect either the media or the political circles. Former foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide joins the present on, Anniken Huitfeldt, and supports her policy wholeheartedly. The secret police says the danger is not over.

A specific business leader had several meetings with Russian representatives and on the basis of that they were expelled. At least there was a concrete reference. But 15?

Is Norway about to enter another security regime dictated by American interests? The tones we are now sending out are completely out of character to Norwegian foreign and security policy. If anything, Norwegian politics has been too considerate and understanding towards Moscow. Now we have turned 180 degrees and it is happening at the same time as the Americans are getting their own bases in four places in Norway.

And in the background sings Nord Stream. The “chat” about who was behind the blowup does not stop. Many have long since concluded that the Americans were behind it. Trump said that too. The Norwegians played a secondary role, but an important one.

Moscow says that Norway has become an enemy nation. Who would have thought that defenseless Norway would start to challenge its neighbor to the east?

It is completely unreal and dangerous.

Is it the self-confidence imbued by Finland’s entry into Nato and the conviction that everyone will come together in the EU and NATO that bolsters self-confidence and turns it into arrogance?

In that case, one accepts without blinking an eye that the tension in the north will increase.

The Russians have warned us: You will get an answer.

We are no longer talking about the relationship between Norway and Russia having suffered a setback. We are talking about the fact that we have gone from a country that wants to live in peace and tolerance with a huge neighbor with a troubled past, to one that treats this country as a budding enemy.

Are no bells ringing? Shouldn’t the Minister for Foreign Affairs have given a statement to the Storting about such a dramatic step? The lack of response is itself cause for alarm.

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