A few weeks after Rogozhin retired as chief, many former guides and vendors came from Barentsburg to Longyearbyen. According to Rogozhing, about 20 people left Barentsburg in May and another 10 a little later.
Rogozhin never wanted to speak in public about what happened – until now.
“I did not want to create unnecessary additional problems for the Trust and the Chief Executive, as I respected the Trust, in which I enjoyed working, despite the large number of internal problems and contradictions,” he wrote.
Even though they disagreed on a lot of things, he still considers Veselov a pretty good leader of the Trust. Rogozhin believes that the whole problem was initiated by the Russian consul general in Svalbard.
“People have freedom of speech in Barentsburg”
Russia’s consul general in Barentsburg writes in an email to High North News that he agrees with the position of the director of the Trust that it is incompatible to criticize government decisions and to hold a leadership position in a public company.
“It’s a simple business ethic, common to all public companies in the world,” he writes.
Guschchin says he did not complain about Rogozhin, however, he informed the Russian authorities and the director of Trust Arktikugol about the tourism director’s support for public protest actions in Barentsburg. One of them took place in front of the Consulate General on January 23, 2021 and the other in the center of Barentsburg on February 3, 2021.
Gushchin further says that he in no way pressured the Trust to fire Rogozhin.