Russia’s new Arctic Strategy Ready in Two Weeks

6 10 2010

Photo: With Minister of Regional Development Viktor Basargin - Kremlin.ru

A proposal for strategic development of the Arctic will be handed over to the Russian Government in two weeks time, says Minister of Regional Development Viktor Basargin. The project will probably be approved by the end of the year.

With the new concept for strategic development of the Arctic Russia is changing its approach to exploration of natural resources in the Arctic. Earlier the main argument was to preserve resources to coming generations, but now the focus has turned to use of the resources.

Russia is the last of the countries with access to the Arctic to adopt a plan for Arctic development. As BarentsObserer reported, in October 2010 Basargin said that his ministry had prepared a plan for development, but after this little was heard about the project.

The proposal was presented at the second Arctic Murmansk International Economic Forum in Murmansk last week. In his speech Basargin noted the importance of the Arctic for Russia:

Only 2 percent of the Russian population lives in the Arctic, but the region stands for 14 percent of Russia’s GDP and 25 percent of the country’s export, he said, according to the ministry’s web site. The Russian Arctic holds 80 percent of Russia’s natural gas, 90 percent of nickel and cobalt and 60 percent of copper. In addition there are probably vast undiscovered resources under the sea bottom in the Polar Sea.

Russian policy in the Arctic has three priorities – to create good living conditions for people in the north, including indigenous peoples; to support economic growth and draw investments to the region and to inject serious money into science and ecological infrastructure.

Barents Observer

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