8. Road to independence
During the spring of 2010, IKEA launched its regional development fund in Haparanda, and started to invest heavily in the region. Among the investment objects were small scale oil technology companies.
Another activity that the fund engaged in, though less openly, was the initiation and foundation of small non-governmental organizations working for the independence of the Barents Region.
Towards the end of 2010, this activity was conducted more and more in the open, as it grew support from local authorities throughout the region.
In the winter of 2011 - with climate still improving - the region saw a boom in the investments by multinational companies trying to reduce risks after suffering big losses in the hurricanes and flooding in USA and the Far East that same summer.
As a part of this, IKEA started to move its furniture production from potential risk areas in the Far East to the low-cost areas of northern Russia. Also, tourism in the region reached a new all time high.
In the fall of 2012, the first county councils voted for independence from their national states. Haparanda/Tornio was, not surprisingly, first, closely followed by Kirkenes.
By the spring of 2013, the four national states finally realized what was at stake. But by that time, there had already been established an exile government in Lousanne, Switzerland - with the help of Ingvar Kamprad, who lived there at the time.
And when this exile government - with the promise of establishing a new IKEA store in the area - managed to get in control of the former Russian naval base of Severomorsk outside Murmansk, and through that became a nuclear superpower, the national states were convinced by the European Union and the United Nations to give in and grant independence.
November 15th was chosen as the new independence day.
A united Barents