Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Russia stands strong to defend Arctic regions from foreign influence
Russia will oppose policies of a number of countries trying to take the Northern Sea Route out of Russia's jurisdiction. This statement was made by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on Thursday at a meeting in Magadan. He said that "a number of countries are trying to impose their control over shipping routes in the Arctic and the Bering Strait." Patrushev stressed that the Russian administration of the Northern Sea Route was recreated to improve the competitiveness of Russia. Other improvements included an adoption of a federal law regulating the icebreaking vessels, and defining the rules of navigation of the Northern Sea Route. The Secretary of the Security Council noted that consistent work has been conducted to strengthen the troops to protect the national interests of Russia in the Arctic. We should mention a document prepared by the officials of the Ministry of Regional Development where doubts about the ability of the armed forces to protect Russia's interests in the Arctic are expressed. The Secretary of the Security Council mentioned that "in October the work at Temp airport was restored at New Siberian Islands. Further enhancement of the airport network and berthing facilities in the Arctic archipelagoes was conducted, and the issues of the formation of marine rescue centers in the eastern sector of the Northern Sea Route are being resolved." According to him, all these efforts are designed to establish a framework for the implementation of the state program of the development of the circumpolar areas of the Far East and the Arctic zone of Russia as a whole. According to the calculations by the Regional Development Ministry, the volume of the Northern Sea Route in 2020 will increase seven-fold. According to Rosmorrechflot, the volume of traffic on the Northern Sea Route in the navigation of 2012 (as of November 7, 2012) amounted to 1 million 126 thousand 640 tons. In 2011, this number did not reach 1 million tons. Ensuring Russian interests in the Arctic is a priority. This has been repeatedly emphasized at the highest level. In this light the strong reaction of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the debate about the need to transfer the Arctic under international control is understandable. The circle of interested countries is not difficult to determine. For example, this can be done based on the information about the aerial maneuvers Arctic Challenge. This year they were attended by the Air Forces of Sweden, Finland, Norway, the UK and the U.S. The purpose of the exercise was to develop the planning, implementation and evaluation of the use of large air forces in an unlimited area under various scenarios. Another goal was to adjust the interaction of NATO with the air forces of the countries that are not members of the alliance (yet). The list is not limited to these countries. For example, there are countries that have not been concerned with the issues of the Arctic until recently. Now they consider themselves concerned parties. Nikolai Kharitonov, the chairman of the Duma Committee on Regional Policy and the North and the Far East noted that it is clear that there is a temptation to demonstrate the power. He told Pravda.Ru that the Arctic will be controlled by those who own it. Kharitonov believes that at the moment there are no real threats. He said that the State Duma deputies have repeatedly met with the parliamentarians from the neighboring Nordic countries, and everyone had a peaceful attitude. "Of course, we have to defend our interests," said the head of the Duma Committee. He added that, in his opinion, no one will encroach on them. Kharitonov argued that while unpredictable behavior occurs at times, the time is not right for it now. Is there a real threat to the Russian interests in the Arctic? Should Russia invest more in the development of the polar areas? Or is this an unacceptable luxury? What do you think?