Barents Profile - Mr. Alexey Kalinin

My interest for Barents started in 1993. In May 1993, I participated in the II International Conference on Telemedicine in Tromsø as a moderator of one of the sessions. The first telebridge between Russia and Tromsø was arranged during that conference and I was happy to be involved in the process.

As of today, I have actively participated in the Barents cooperation for twenty years. I started as a representative of the university environment: first the Northern State Medical University, then Arkhangelsk State Technical University, and Pomor State University. I worked in the medical university the longest, and a whole range of projects have been initiated and developed under my supervision. Then they were caught up by our colleagues. I am proud to say that some of those projects are still active. It is, for example, the telemedicine project that hasn’t existed in the Arkhangelsk region before. We started it with the University of Tromsø, it was initially financed by Norway. Today we see the result of this work – about 20 studios of telemedicine are operating in different districts of the Arkhangelsk region. I was also in charge of the public health sector of international cooperation, and we realized several projects in that sphere.

In January 2006, the International School of Public Health (ISPHA) was established in Arkhangelsk under the supervision of the University of Tromsø, and in collaboration with other universities in the Barents region. It was the first school of its kind and the first complete Master’s program in Russia. Today 45 people have graduated from ISPHA, and their work is tightly connected with the improvement of public health situation in the northern regions.

Another sphere of my particular interest was social psychiatry, and investigation into alcohol behavior patterns in Russia and Norway. The contacts we had in the Barents region on this topic resulted in a large-scale project on the modern tendencies and cross-cultural peculiarities of alcohol consumption among the population in the Russian European North and the North of Norway. Later I defended a PhD on that topic and received a Doctor’s degree in the field of public health.

Student mobility through Barents cooperation

Ever since the Barents Euro-Arctic Region was established, we started a student mobility process between NSMU and UiT. Dozens of students have been in studies abroad, and the programs are still working. Many of those students who participated in student exchange programs decided to devote themselves to science and have successfully defended their PhDs in UiT and other BEAR universities.

The future of the Barents regional cooperation
Twenty years of Barents cooperation showed that the most effective cooperation is reached in the spheres of education, research, health and culture – the so-called “people-to-people” relations. I am convinced that mutual work will keep growing in these areas, as these are personal contacts between people, empathy and sympathy that are the foundation of any cooperation.
However, I believe that for BEAR future more attention should be paid to economic cooperation. The reason for it is that economic cooperation would allow establishing new industries, and, in turn, new workplaces. This will result in a common market for entire BEAR. People will be bound to live and work in the region, and most importantly – stay in the region and connect their lives to it.

Economic challenges – joint solutions
The motto of our chairmanship is “Economic challenges – joint solutions”. The priorities of our chairmanship in the spheres of economy, transport and infrastructure, environment and energy efficiency are the foundation of all cooperation in the region.

The priorities chosen by the Arkhangelsk region for the chairmanship are much adjusted to the priorities of Finnish national chairmanship, and are in line with the ideas of the Kirkenes declaration adopted on June 4th, 2013, and in the Barents Program 2014 - 2018. These concepts sound like they have been created by one and the same person, although in fact they have been totally different people in different settings. This harmony shows that people of the Barents region think in the same direction, and are ready to work together for the common bright future.

The first meeting of the new Barents Regional Council and Regional Committee will be held in Arkhangelsk on March 12th, 2014 – it is already a settled date. The venues for the next meetings will be discussed on this first meeting, but this can be any BEAC region that would take the honor of hosting the event.

Mr. Alexey Kalinin
Chair of the Barents Regional Committee
Director of the Department of International Relations and State Protocol Administration of the Arkhangelsk Region Government


Alexey Kalinin and Igor Orlov from Arkhangelsk.jpg

Mr. Alexey Kalinin, the chair of the Barents Regional Committee and Mr. Igor Orlov, the chairman of the Barents Regional Council.

Greetings to the Barents Saga readers from Mr. Kalinin:

"As we approach the holiday time, I wish all the readers delightful and happy time with their dear ones. Family is key to every person, and the cradle that makes us all better and kinder.

A happy and kind person is the basis of a healthy society, and prosperous future of our big family – the Barents region."