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How to divide the Arctic
- Igor Ilyich, the status of the Arctic is fixed in international agreements. Despite the fact that the Arctic is divided into five sectors between the US, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark, its exact boundary is not defined. How can this be?
- What documents form the basis of Russian state policy in the Arctic?
- There are three official documents. This is the "Fundamentals of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the period up to 2020 and a further perspective" from 2008, the Strategy for the development of the Arctic zone and ensuring national security to 2020 (approved in 2013) and the state program "Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone RF for the period up to 2020. "(Developed by CJSC" ICRD ", approved in April 2014).
The first document is an ideology, where the basics of Russian politics are generally prescribed, how Russia will behave in the Arctic. Strategy - the document is more specific, it sets the development trends. The program, respectively, is already a planned, fairly rigid document: what we do, who does, how much money should be allocated, what results we will get. Roughly speaking, there is a point of reference and an end point where we want to go.
- And where do we want to go?
- This is more difficult for us, because it seems that such a task, which we initially represented, will not succeed because of a lack of funding. The government decided that this program will not be financed separately. It turns out that the program exists, but it is implemented not by its own means, but as a coordinating program for 14 sectoral programs, where the Arctic zone is prescribed and which have financing (transport, ecology and resources, construction of nuclear icebreakers).
Well, of course, without financing and without a full-fledged program for the development of the Arctic zone, it will be very difficult to work, as there are issues that need to be solved entirely for the entire zone. Within the framework of the program, in the Russian Arctic zone 12 reference areas of development are allocated, where the same problems as in any other reference zones - local infrastructure, communications, roads.
- Who is fighting for markets in the Arctic today? What are the main players you could highlight?
- All the Arctic states are fighting - Norway, Canada, USA, Iceland. All have their allotments, all have oil and gas. First of all, we need hydrocarbons, the potential reserves of which are very high. In addition, there are many rare earth minerals in the Arctic. Well, coal, of course. Therefore, countries are building up their military presence there: they build both a fleet and supply bases. We here are not at all original.
- That is, building up the military potential in the Arctic is not our country solely a Russian strategy (“Polar Star” military camp, reconstruction of the airport in Tiksi)?
- Russia from all the Arctic states has the longest Arctic border. Does this mean that our country is the main Arctic power?
- If we take the intensity of development, then, of course, in absolute numbers Russia in the Arctic is much more represented. Such machinas as the Norilsk Combine (the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine named after AP Zavenyagin for the extraction of minerals and metallurgy of non-ferrous metals - Prim.red.), In the Arctic zone, no one else has. This is a whole state! The same Sevmorput all these years functioned only for the combine. The Norilsk combine transported two million tons, and it transports, and the whole transit through the Northern Sea Route is less than one and a half million tons even today, and at one time it was generally insignificant.
Vankor field, Yamal deposits also in the same zone. Yes, in terms of development of the Arctic we are leaders. But if we take the GDP per capita, then we lag behind the intensity of development from all the Arctic states, because they have a smaller population.
- Does Russia have advantages in connection with the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR)?
- The Chinese, by the way, also because of the SMP and access to fish resources and metals, are showing interest in the Arctic.
- Yes, the Chinese are very active. The Northern Sea Route is a very important thing. They are now building their modern icebreaker, building ice class ships, they are going to walk in the Arctic. What is so cunning about the Convention on the Law of the Sea? Vessels go higher latitudes, and if the ice starts to mash, then the nearest power, which has the capabilities, is obliged to save them. Extreme in this case we find ourselves.
- In your opinion, could the situation in the Arctic worsen due to the sanctions, for example, Rosneft found oil in the Kara Sea, and ExxonMobil refused to cooperate with it?
- Of course, some difficulties will necessarily arise, because Russia does not have enough technology to work in the Arctic. This is without a doubt.
- What do you think, what policy should Russia pursue at the given time on the Arctic issue?