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Norwegian Minister assumed Russian surveillance

The Norwegian Minister of Defence assumed that Russians were monitoring the phone line as he in 1968 ordered the Norwegian army to fire against Russian soldiers who entered Norwegian lend near Kirkenes.

This information is published in a report presented by General Tønne Huitfeldt and Major Arild Hjerde. The report will be published this week by the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, according to Aftenposten.

Polar Express

The Russian army's movement towards the border in Finnmark was interpreted as a response to the NATO exercise «Polar Express», initiated in Troms on 3 July 1968. The Russian Minister of defence, Andrej Gretsjko, disapproved of the activities in northern Norway.

According to the report, the Norwegian Minister of Defence, Otto Grieg Tidemand, explained that Norwegian lieutenant Aune called him the night of 7 June 1968:

«Aune said that the Russians were lined up at the border and asked what to do if they crossed the border. The Minister asked if lieutenant Aune did not know »the poster on the wall«. »But that means war«, said the lieutenant. »OK«, the Minister replied», according to the report.

Assumed to be monitored

Grieg Tidemand has explained that he assumed the whole conversation was monitored by the Russians and that he wanted to make it clear to them what the consequences would be if they crossed the border.

The Minister thought that if there was not much information about the situation in the press, and if Norway did not increase the stage of preparedness, the Russians would benefit less from a demonstration of strength. The Minister thought this would reduce the fear of war in Norway and chose to put a lid on the incident.

The report reveals that at one point, the morning of 7 June, a fully loaded Russian tank was on its way towards the border but made a u turn 20-3- meters from the border.

The lieutenant concludes that the Russian tank was there to test the nerves of the Norwegian soldiers.


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