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.
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
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
). Museum exhibitions along with films were mobilized during the period of cultural revolution for a fundamental reform, which aimed to transform them into political-educational institutions accessible and attractive to the broadest masses of the population (Chlenova, 2017 ). In 1932, the ice-ship Malygin was the first ship to navigate along the Siberian coast in one season. This led to the establishment of a new central governing body for the Soviet Arctic, ‘The Main Administration of the Northern Sea Route’. Sea ice along this
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
is particularly prominent in large infrastructure projects, such as the rejuvenation of ports along the Northern Sea Route or renewal of the icebreaking fleet (Moe, 2014). The emphasis on shift work (fly-in/fly-out labour) for new sources of natural resource wealth is an indication of this balancing act –pursuing regional profit without committing to the development of social infrastructure (Laruelle, 2013; Saxinger, Nuykina and Ofner, 2017). A second issue is the locus of decision- making power. Putin’s recentralisation of power from the regions to the
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
discussed further towards the end of the section. In 1959, the Soviet Union’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker – the Lenin – was stationed in Murmansk. Over the following years, a whole fleet of nuclear icebreakers was built.2 The main task of the icebreakers was to escort vessels navigating the Northern Sea Route (i.e. the Northeast Passage), which stretches along the northern shores of the Eurasian continent from the Barents to the Bering Sea. Thus, the icebreaker fleet played an important role – and to some extent still does – in securing the severnyy zavoz, i.e. the
times during the period 2005–15 (Bond and Levine 2001). The metallurgical operations of Pechenganickel take place at the company’s plant at Nikel. The plant processes ore concentrates from the mines near Zapolyarnyy and raw materials shipped over the Northern Sea Route (see Figure 6.1) from Norilsk. These shipments started in the late 1968s when local ores began to decline. During the Soviet era, Norilsk Nickel shipped approximately one million tonnes of ore from Siberia to its Kola facilities every year (Kotov and Nikitina 1998b). The shift to a market economy has
. That dispute was circumvented in 1988 by means of the bilateral Agreement on Arctic Co-operation which obliges the United States to obtain Canadian consent for voyages of US ice-breakers through the Passage while expressly preserving the views and rights of both parties on the question. 7 Somewhat similar doubts arise in relation to the Northeast Passage and the Northern Sea Route north of Russia. 8