In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church has bought a number of properties along the Norwegian coast, one of which has a full view of Norway’s most important naval base and approaches to it, Haakonsvern, according to Dagbladet.
The Russian Orthodox Church is “a vital pillar of support for Putin’s regime” as its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows.
According to Dagbladet, the Property Register records show that in 2017 a congregation associated with the Moscow Patriarchate bought the Søreide prayer house in Bergen only three kilometers away from the Haakonsvern naval base.
“If you imagine the whole range of possible measures, then you can disrupt signals, perhaps ‘eavesdrop’ on signals, you can control drones from there, you can offer accommodation to people who map the area. There is a wide range of surveying activity and possible disruptions that can be carried out from such a base,” commented Alfa Sefland Winge who conducts research on socially critical infrastructure and preparedness at the Naval Academy.
Through various congregations, the Russian Orthodox Church has bought several properties in Norway in recent years. In Stavanger, a former leader of the local Russian Orthodox congregation owns a property a kilometer away from the Joint Warfare Centre.