Transborder Café: Believe it or Not
Tonight we will focus on the Russiagate story and other cases where Russia is/was allegedly involved. We would like to make a ‘reality check’ in relation to some of the speculative stories that claim, or have claimed, a Russian Connection.
With us we have: Joe Lauria was a United Nations correspondent for 25 years and reported for Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and The Sunday Times (London), among other. Joe Lauria is Editor-in-Chief of Consortium News (consortiumnews.com) who, from the scandal’s outset, was in the forefront of Russiagate scepticism, recognizing its domestic and geopolitical dangers. Reid Standish is a special correspondent for Foreign Policy magazine in Moscow where he covers politics and economics in Russia and across Eurasia. Reid Standish reported on «the Arctic route» in 2015 and Frode Berg’s espionage case in 2018, among others. Anders Eiebakke, one of the festival artists, describes himself as culturally moderate to conservative but socially revolutionary. He rejects the narrative of Russian expansionism, and sees NATO’s expansion as the seed of the current, tense situation. At the same time, he is in solidarity with Russian dissidents who fight against what he perceives to be an authoritarian Russian regime that poses a threat to its own inhabitants. Tommy Rognmo was a teacher at Pasvik Folk University, where he also ran the local ‘Radio Pasvik’. In the 1990s he was the director of the Sør-Varanger Business Council, and was engaged in many border-crossing initiatives, such as Barents Ski Run, business conferences in Murmansk and Kirkenes, and experienced the borderland cooperation for good and bad.
We will also take up discussion around Kirkenes as a «spy town». Frode Berg’s case was not spared for associations with the Russian Connection. As Frode Berg is among the audience, we will send him a greeting from the stage: We have invited tenor Vladimir Martynenko, originally from Murmansk, who claims he was imprisoned in Lefortovo for having refused to cooperate with FSB.
|Saturday 15th Feb|