High in the Arctic, about halfway between the Russian port of Murmansk and the North Pole, lies the town of Barentsburg. About 500 people live here, mostly Ukrainians from Donetsk and Luhansk who work in the Russian-owned coal mine. A Lenin statue watches over the snowy town center, and a concrete sign outside their canteen reads: “Our Goal Is Communism.” This time capsule feels every bit like an old school Soviet town—except it’s in Norway. Fascinated by this mysterious community, Norwegian photographer Paul S. Amundsen spent parts of a summer and winter in Barentsburg. He joined R&K from his home in Bergen.
Roads & Kingdoms: When did you first hear about Barentsburg?
Paul S. Amundsen: When I was a child, many, many years ago. It’s a remote, isolated place. A kind of a misplaced community. I always thought it would be very interesting to go but I didn’t do anything about it until last year.