Elana Wilson Rowe
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Establishing and navigating the rules of the road in Arctic diplomacy

This chapter examines Russia’s engagement in the Arctic Council over time to see how Russia’s preferences are met (or not), and discusses what this can tell us about the rules of the road in cross-border Arctic diplomacy. In the first section, the notion of policy fields is revisited to conceptualise how the sporadic meeting places of global governance can indeed become imbued with a site-specific social thickness that matters for shaping behaviour. The long lines of Russia’s approach to the Arctic, as context for the interventions of Russia’s policymakers and diplomatic representatives in Arctic cross-border relations, are then examined. Subsequently, some of Russia’s key interventions in the politics of the Arctic Council in two separate periods, 1997–2007 and 2007/8–2017, are analysed, based on interviews and Arctic Council archives. The chapter concludes with a discussion of what Russia’s successful and failed interventions tell us about the evolving norms of Arctic cross-border governance, including an increasing trend towards concluding formal agreements, and how Russia has played a role in developing them.

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Arctic governance

Power in cross-border Cooperation


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