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This book offers a nuanced and detailed examination of Russia’s international activity. In broad terms, the book contributes to two of the most important current debates about contemporary Russian actions: whether Moscow is acting strategically or opportunistically, and whether this should be understood in regional or global terms. The book goes against the majority opinions on both questions, and introduces contributions in a number of under-researched themes. It argues that Moscow is not acting in a simply ad hoc, reactive way, but in a consistently strategic manner, and that this is best understood not by analysing Russia’s return to specific regions, but in a more holistic way with a global horizon, linking activity across different regions. This means that the Russian challenge is likely to continue rather than fade away.

The book addresses core themes of Russian activity – military, energy, and economic. But it offers an unusual multi-disciplinary analysis to these themes, incorporating both regional and thematic specialist expertise. Underpinned by detailed analyses of the revolution in Russian geospatial capabilities and the establishment of a strategic planning foundation, the book includes chapters on military and maritime strategies, energy security, and economic diversification and influence. This serves to highlight the connections between military and economic interests that shape and drive Russian strategy.

The book examines the re-emergence of Russia as a sea power. After years of post-Soviet decline, Moscow has invested substantial resources in establishing Russia as a ‘leading seafaring nation’ of the twenty-first century. The book examines the plans, priorities, and problems in this strategy and why this is important for the West. It describes the historical underpinnings of Russia’s sea power, and then examines both contemporary naval strategy and the economic and industrial underpinnings of the “maritime turn” in Russian strategy.

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Russia’s twenty-first-century power base
Nazrin Mehdiyeva

framework as global competition for resources and markets intensifies. There is a distinctly military component to Russian strategic thinking on the Arctic. But Russia's principal aims are to develop the region's hydrocarbon resources, despite the Western sanctions imposed in 2014, and to consolidate Russia's jurisdiction over the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to secure unrestricted access to international markets, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The two aims are linked: achieving them simultaneously is expected to develop the Arctic as a new

in Russian Grand Strategy in the era of global power competition
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Andrew Monaghan

Northern Sea Route (NSR). In 2011, for instance, Putin announced major Russian investment in the Arctic to challenge traditional trade routes, 32 and in July 2017 Russia and China agreed to develop an “Ice Silk Road”. Since then, there have been further announcements about infrastructural development through the 2020s. These include the building of new deep water, year-round ports, such as Indiga on the Barents Sea, to connect with the new Arctic-bound Belkomur railway to create an Asia–NSR transport corridor

in Russian Grand Strategy in the era of global power competition
Michael B. Petersen

Other projects include new transhipment hubs in Kamchatka and Murmansk and a planned deep water port at Indiga, among many others, designed to export iron, coal, lumber, and other products extracted from northern Russia. Russia also plans to increase transhipment across the Northern Sea Route (NSR). In 2018, President Putin set a benchmark of eighty million tons of traffic through the NSR by 2024, purportedly a tenfold increase. 24 In 2020, Moscow published an updated Arctic strategy pushing new

in Russian Grand Strategy in the era of global power competition
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The fall and rise of Russia’s power at sea
Andrew Monaghan

the maritime silk road and building of a string of ports in the Indian Ocean and beyond, and its interest in the Northern Sea Route (NSR). 9 There is also official recognition that Moscow’s sustained effort to modernise its capabilities at sea in the 2010s is showing results, and much discussion about how, through the significant increase in the quantity and quality of its naval presence in the Baltic, North Atlantic, and Arctic, Russia is changing the security environment of NATO and its member states. 10 In 2021, the UK

in The sea in Russian strategy
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A sea power of a sort?
Geoffrey Till

renewed discussion in 2021 emerging about a further territorial claim well beyond previous ones. 8 Despite all its climatic and environmental challenges, the combination of the vast resources there – especially oil and gas – and transit in the shape of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) make it a strategic priority for Moscow. The NSR, which promises to cut passage times to Asia by 20 per cent, could become a significant trade artery, 9 yield substantial transit fees, and stimulate development of Russia’s northern coastal

in The sea in Russian strategy
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Andrew Monaghan

in an integrated way are what has characterised the Russian leadership's approach since the early to mid 2000s, in an active effort to shape events. This is shown best by the way that Moscow is investing heavily in a number of major strategic projects – the Northern Sea Route (NSR) being the most obvious example, but also more broadly in terms of infrastructure. Certainly, there are problems in this process, and undoubtedly Moscow has to respond to changing and unexpected developments, as any strategist must. But the emergence of an interactive, competitive

in Russian Grand Strategy in the era of global power competition
Should we care?
Clive Johnstone

come from many locations – perhaps at the same time. The need to be looking for indicators everywhere is critical – a “360 approach”, if we are to be colloquial. Successful balance, posture, and messaging depends on it. And these are also questions the Russian Navy must face. The development of the High North, and particularly the opening up of the Northern Sea Route, is a priority for Moscow. But what does this mean for the Russian Navy? And how does that navy cope with the evolving twenty

in The sea in Russian strategy
Economic interests and capabilities
Richard Connolly

could not be afforded. This situation is changing. The sea is rising in importance in Russia’s overall grand strategy. As far as interests are concerned, Russia is becoming increasingly focused on the development of its considerable Arctic natural resource base and in facilitating the expansion of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The focus on the sea will intensify in future as Russia’s onshore natural resource base is depleted and liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil exports from the Arctic become more important

in The sea in Russian strategy