Russia’s Plans for Arctic Supremacy

Source: Stratfor:

Russia’s traditional view of the outside world is colored by a deep sense of insecurity and paranoia. This is best exemplified by the events in Ukraine, where the Kremlin acted to preserve its traditional geographic bulwark against the West. This pattern of protectionism is also apparent in Moscow’s current understanding and approach to the situation in the Arctic. Of the eight countries of the Arctic Council, five are members of NATO, fueling Russia’s suspicion that opposing forces are massing against it. Although friction with Kiev and the West has overshadowed Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic, Moscow’s long-term ambitions for the region are making other Arctic countries nervous, Norway in particular.

Russia is interested in the Arctic for a number of reasons, though natural resources and pure geopolitical imperatives are the major driving forces behind Moscow’s thinking. The Arctic contains an estimated 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil reserves, regarded by Moscow as important sources of foreign investment that are critical to the country’s economic development. The Northern Sea Route from East Asia to Europe via the Arctic Ocean provides another economic opportunity for developing infrastructure in northern Russia.

2 replies

  1. I believe that while Russia could very well control the Arctic militarily, they would be unable to fully exploit the natural resources there without Western technical assistance. The Russians do large industrial/agricultural projects inefficiently and have created vast wastelands of toxic pollution. Witness the condition of the Aral Sea and the surrounding area. Their oil drilling projects in the north are also major polluters.

    It would be a great thing if all the Arctic nations would band together and work together extracting those natural resources for the betterment of all the world. But, of course, that will never happen.

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