Longyearbyen terminates lease agreement with Russian Consulate General | Polarjournal
The Consulate General in the Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg (red building in the picture at the far left) looks after the affairs of the roughly 350 inhabitants of the second largest town on Spitsbergen. Photo: Heiner Kubny

Termination due to own needs: The Community Council of Longyearbyen on Svalbard terminates the lease agreement with the Russian Consulate General in Barentsburg for premises in Longyearbyen as of 31 March 2024.

The Russian Consul General must find new accommodation in Longyearbyen by April 1, 2024. According to the local newspaper Svalbardposten, the Longyearbyen Lokalstyre municipal administration terminated the rental agreement with the Consulate General in Barentsburg in December last year. The furnished apartment in Vei 232 in Longyearbyen, which the consulate has been using since August 2022, is needed for its own employees. A plausible reason, because living space is scarce in Spitsbergen’s capital.

Longyearbyen Lokalstyre is planning to transfer a large part of its flats – including the one used by the Russian consulate – to Statsbygg, the Norwegian authority for property construction and management. Statsbygg currently manages 18 properties on Svalbard, including flats, research stations, university buildings and the church.

Consul General Andrei Chemerilo is now looking for a new apartment that is suitable for consular services and as accommodation. He is hoping for the support of the Governor of Spitsbergen, with whose help a rental agreement was concluded with Longyearbyen Lokalstyre back in 2010.

“The absence of the meeting place will significantly complicate the implementation of consular functions for Norwegian and Russian citizens in this settlement,” the letter from the Consul General to the Governor says, according to Svalbardposten. “[…] The Consulate General is ready to consider any alternative offers. The Consulate General takes this opportunity to renew to the Governor the assurances of its highest consideration.”

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

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