The Ministry of Defense announced 2014 the Year of the Arctic. The head of the department Sergei Shoigu instructed the General Staff on the deployment of units, as well as the establishment of military infrastructure in the Arctic Circle. Experts believe that the return of Russia to the Arctic will require significant financial resources. It is necessary to restore the military airfields abandoned several decades ago, to build military camps and create coastal infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route. This is done to protect the country’s strategic interests in the region, including the purely economic interests. Domestic companies are planning the active development of deposits of natural resources on the continental shelf of the Arctic seas.
In February 2013 Putin signed a strategic development program in the Arctic until 2020. The main task is to explore the Arctic shelf to prepare oil and gas resources for development and to form deposits reserve fund in the Arctic.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin believes that the development of the Arctic is a national security issue for Russia, given the increased interest on the part of NATO to the region. He stated this at the meeting of the Maritime Board.
According to the deputy prime minister, Russia faces the task of expanding the shipbuilding capacity in the interests of offshore projects. “This problem is not an economic one, it’s a political and geopolitical one. This is a matter of national security of the country”, – said Deputy Prime Minister.
The Deputy Prime Minister reminded that the countries of the North Atlantic alliance are paying much attention to these areas and developing plans to establish military presence there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid a wreath at the monument to graduates from the Ryazan airborne troops academy who died in service.
Other participants in the ceremony — Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Commander of Airborne Troops Vladimir Shamanov, presidential envoy to the Central Federal District Alexander Beglov and the Ryazan Region’s Governor Oleg Kovalyov — laid red roses at the monument. They stood for a minute’s silence.
Putin, who is Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, also laid flowers at the monument to Gen. Margelov and visited the memorial complex. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Ryazan on Friday to visit the Airborne Troops Command Academy, which marked the 95th anniversary on November 13.
The sub-commission established under the United Nations Commission on the limits of the continental shelf, will present to the commission in February and March 2014 the recommendations to join the enclave area of 52 sq km in the middle part of the Okhotsk Sea to the continental shelf of Russia. This is stated in the report of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The area of the continental shelf in the Okhotsk Sea claimed by Russia does not formally belong to any of the states. According to the geological exploration, it is rich in hydrocarbons, metals, and other minerals. Russia bases its claim on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows to expand the 200-mile economic zone of states, provided that the site is a natural extension of the continental margin.
The Arctic studies will be one of the most important trends of cooperation between Russia’s Navy and the Russian Geographic Society, Kirill Chistyakov, the society’s vice president, said on Tuesday at the ceremony of signing the agreement of the sides on interaction in organizing expeditions to study the world ocean.
Chistyakov believes high-tech potentials of the Navy will be the basis for cooperation. For instance, a Losharik underwater craft of the Navy was lowered last summer to the Lomonosov ridge in the Arctic Ocean to take rock samples.
The possibility of the development of the Arctic shelf, he noted, depends on getting reliable scientific data not only about the shelf but also about the structure of the Arctic Ocean floor and of the entire Arctic zone – the shelf, the coastal area, the area of the deltas of the great Siberian rivers.
This information can only be received by field studies. Space studies can only specify the outlines of geographic objects, Chistyakov said.
The Russian Airborne Troops and Military Transport Aviation conducted exercises in the Arctic zone, First Deputy Defense Minister Army General Arkady Bakhin said.
Bakhin noted that this operation showed that the Airborne troops in the Arctic island zone are ready to help the civilian population, as well as the troops located in the region.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev considers the development of the Far East export potential one of the priorities of the region’s strategy.
Speaking at a session of the government commission on the social and economic development of the Far East, Medvedev said, “One of the variants of the Far East development is to export goods to the Asia-Pacific Region and to create new plants.”
The premier cited China as an example. China is the largest world market, he said, adding, “None waits for us with open arms. We should become competitive, clear and open.”
Medvedev said, “It is necessary to create assembly line production, which is in demand abroad, first of all. Thus, it is necessary to create special zones for such lines.”
President Putin has declared at a meeting with the activists of the United Russia party on Thursday that “talking about bringing the Arctic region under someone’s control is not a wise thing to do. This is an anti-popular position, not a patriotic one,” Putin said.
“As a matter of fact Arctic is an inalienable part of the Russian Federation; it has been under the Russian jurisdiction for centuries, and it will be this way for ages to come,” Putin declared.
Russia hopes that the global developments over the past few decades will distance Russia from what happened to it in the era of the Cold War, the president declared.
Putin underlined the importance of the Arctic region, which “is rich in natural resources and is attractive for the development of the transport infrastructure and communications.” The president also reminded of the Northern Sea Route, “which shortens time needed for the transportation of goods, and consequently, lows their cost”. Putin assured that the state is planning to give support to a group of ice-breakers operating in the Arctic area.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Salekhard, where he will take part in the work of the Arctic Forum and meet with the President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.
The third International Arctic Forum “The Arctic is the Territory of Dialogue” is held in Salekhard by the Russian Geographical Society. Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters, that the forum will also see the participation of presidents of Finland and Iceland Sauli Niinistö and Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Minister of Defense and head of the Russian Geographical Society Sergei Shoigu and others.
The main theme of the meeting is environmental safety. The forum will discuss possible scenarios of climate change in the Arctic, questions about the effects of industrial development of the region on the lives of indigenous peoples and the environment, elimination of the negative effects of such human activities, regulation of environmental protection. Participants will exchange views on how to combine the efforts of the government, scientific community and business in the preservation of nature in the Arctic.
The Arctic Council’s Working Group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) is opening a meeting in Rostov-on-Don on Tuesday. Press secretary of the Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Gennady Belotserkovtsev said that the meeting participants plan to discuss the problems of tourism development, the issues of ecology and transport communication of the North Polar Region of the globe. The decisions taken at the meeting will be sent to the international community.
“Resolutions of the Arctic Council are declarative in nature and will be offered for the implementation to the relevant agencies of the countries included in the working group,” Belotserkovtsev said.
About 40 representatives of ministries and departments of the Arctic Council will be taking part in the event, which will be held until September 27.
The delegations of Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, Singapore, the United States, Finland and Sweden, as well as representatives from the European Union and other international organizations will take part in the PAME meeting.