Murmansk Oblast
A border region and military bastion rich in natural resources including various minerals and ores

Murmansk Oblast includes the whole Kola Peninsula, the about 100,000 square kilometer area connected with the Finnish Lapland province and the Norwegian Finnmark County in the west, and facing the Barents Sea and White Sea in the north, south and east. The region is governed from Murmansk City, the regional capital, which is the by far biggest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle.

Murmansk Oblast is rich in natural resources, including various ores and minerals, like apatites and nephelines; copper, nickel, and iron ores, as well as fish and other resources. A string of powerful industries has developed in fields like mining and metallurgy, fisheries and shipbuilding.

The region has several big rivers and a well-developed hydropower generating industry. The only nuclear power plant in the Barents Region, the Kola NPP, is located in the southern part of the peninsula. The location by the never-freezing  Arctic waters gives Murmansk a geopolitically central position in Russian military strategies. The Northern Fleet has its bases along the Kola coast from where it has easy access to the world seas.

Along with Navy, the fisheries and the shipping industry has always been the leading players in the waters off the Kola Peninsula. Today, the oil and gas industry is also gradually making its way into the regional economy.

Population

Murmansk Oblast

Regional stories

Continued decline for Murmansk Port
Goods turnover in the Murmansk port is down more than 50% since 2010.
12/01/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

In five years, goods turnover at Russia’s leading Arctic port has dropped by more than 50 percent. The port, a cornerstone infrastructure object in Murmansk Oblast, in the first ten months of 2015 had a 3,8 percent decline compared with the same period 2014, the Independent Barents Observer reports.

That result brings goods turnover in the regional port to the lowest level in 13 years. In year 2002, the port handled 21,5 million tons, figures from Patchwork Barents shows. In 2015, the volume is likely to drop to below 22 million tons...

More fish, but less production
Fish stocks in the Barents Sea are richer than ever, but the fish industry in Murmansk still in state of decline.
09/18/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Figures from regional statistical office Murmanskstat, the regional branch office of federal Rosstat, show that regional fishery processing facilities the first six months of 2015 produced 19,3 thousand tons, 13 percent less than in the same period 2014, BarentsObserver reports.

The weak results for 2015 follows an industry decline also last year. In 2014, regional fish processing dropped almost three percent compared with 2013.

In addition, the Murmansk regional aquaculture industry is in crisis following mass death in salmon...

Great party, poor results for Murmansk Port
As it celebrates its 100-years anniversary, the Port of Murmansk records historically bad results.
09/09/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

The Murmansk Sea Port marks its 100 years of operations with a great party in the city downtown. However, as thousands of locals enjoyed the show, there seems to be less joy to find in the port accounts books, BarentsObserver reports.

Figures from the local Murmansk Statistical Service (Murmanskstat) indicate that regional ports are in a period of serious decline. In the first seven months of 2015, the ports had a drop in their goods turnover of almost 20 percent. That follows a downturn of as much as 40 percent in 2014 compared with 2013.

As illustrated by Patchwork Barents the Murmansk sea ports in 2014 handled 22,7 million tons of goods, compared with...

Another blow to cross-border traveling
The introduction of biometric visas could lead to a major drop in traveling between Russia and neighboring countries.
07/29/2015
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

From 14th September, Russians will have to personally show up at a Schengen consular station to give finger prints and photo in order to obtain visas. Russia is following suit and will soon introduce similar requirements for Schengen citizens.

That could prove to be another major stubling stone for cooperation between Russia and the neighboring countries, BarentsObserver reports.