Russia and the Arctic

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
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From the International Relations and Security Network (host) via the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (publisher) through Pavel K. Baev (author) working for the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO).  Got all that?  Good.  Here’s what Baev had to say (in paraphrase) about Russia’s current position regarding the Arctic:


Russia now prefers a pattern of balanced cooperative behavior in the Far North as demonstrated by the recent maritime border agreement with Norway.

This cooperation only partially fulfils Russia’s ambitions and Moscow will try to limit globalization of the Arctic, insisting on privilege for the littoral states and prioritizing the ties among the ‘Arctic five.’

Development of the hydrocarbon reserves, particularly those that are off-shore, requires the engagement of Western partners, who remain reluctant to invest due to a poor investment climate and considerable uncertainty over demand.  Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft are not in a hurry to launch new projects.

The main factor undercutting Russia’s plans and ambitions for the Arctic in the mid-term would be the scarcity of demand for energy resources based on the slow recovery of the global economy.

Russia seems to be trending towards becoming the Saudi Arabia of the northern latitudes; a nation with resources, demographic problems, and little know-how.  To their great benefit, Norway and the other Arctic states, are powerful enough to avoid bullying (for the moment?) by the Russians.


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