Russian military bases north of Arctic Circle and along a 20,000-kilometer coastline are of ever increasing importance, defending, controlling and denying the Northern Sea Route which is not just a “Polar Silk Road” but also a vital lane of communication to the Russian Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok. Significant investment in these strategic assets is exemplified by the bringing back into service and upgrading of facilities abandoned a quarter of a century ago on the collapse of the Soviet Union. They come within the Unified Strategic Command based in Arkhangelsk. The bases data below is derived from a number of public sources.
Arkitka is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear icebreakers. She’s designed to smash through Arctic ice up to 3 metres thick or more. But her long-delayed maiden voyage followed on a series of failed trials – and was marred by an inability to find thick enough ice to demonstrate her full potential, and equipment failures.
Since 2008, the European Union (EU) has been involved in Arctic issues
, for various reasons, environmental, scientific and strategic. The current EU policy on the Arctic is focused on the 2016 joint communication “An integrated European Union policy on the Arctic”. Emphasizing the geopolitics of the region, an update of EU Arctic policy was announced in the fall of 2019.
Recent unexpectedly rapid melting of Arctic Ocean sea ice has captured the public imagination and created the impression of a „Race for the Arctic“. Beneath the heightened political rhetoric, national posturing and media hype about unresolved territorial claims, huge hydrocarbon resources and disappearing polar bears lies a complex and dynamic picture of disputed science, with inadequate data and unreliable predictions and increasing volatility in the energy market that is not
conducive to long term investment.
During the last decades, global interest for the Arctic, an area of 25 million square km of which 14 million for the Arctic ocean, increased due to the climate change which led to the melting of the ice cap and the thawing of the permafrost. The attention of the global players is attracted not only by energy and natural resources but also by new maritime routes. This creates new environmental challenges and leads to potentially dramatic changes to international trade, which will contribute to the globalization of