Reference the Arctic: whether Russia has the advantage in the fight and how much?
Material posted: Gornova Anna M.Publication date: 22-11-2017
Today, November 22, Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) together with a number of interacting scientific and social organizations held a round table on the theme: "Modern Arctic: issues of international cooperation, politics, economy and security."

How to be the Arctic? This question is asked by politicians and business. At the same time, the draft law "On development of the Arctic zone", regulating the activity for future reference zones, published by the Ministry of economic development. The bill provides for an irrevocable mutual commitments between the state and investors, and support investment projects at the expense of the establishment of a Fund for the development of the Arctic. Among the companies distinguished group of anchor investors, who receive incentives for working in the holding area (which is, the bill does not disclose). Anchor, economy understands project costing 100 billion rubles from the sale of which depend on other projects in the zone. The Northern regions are already preparing lists of projects to support areas, relying on benefits Federal taxes for investors.

Simultaneously the state Duma intends in the third reading to adopt the draft Federal budget for 2018 to 2020, under which social and economic development of the Arctic is proposed to cut — instead of the originally planned 791,9 million rubles for these purposes in 2018, I want to highlight only 159,8 million.

Reference the Arctic and the far East

The Russian Federation government decree of 31 August 2017 No. 1064 in the new edition of the state program "Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation" an updated list of the subroutines, the main objectives, indicators and targets.

Expanded structure of participants of the state program, extended the implementation period until 2025, said the Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on transport Paul Fedyaev ("United Russia"). For the first time the program received funding of more than 160 billion rubles.
"This money is planning to develop eight reference areas in the Arctic. In most cases they are combined with the mineral resource developments. Complex activities program involves the environmental, national security, the development of the resources of the Arctic, including the continental shelf, the development of navigation on the Northern sea route, as well as scientific activity", — said the MP.

By 2035 in Russia will be built eight nuclear-powered icebreakers. The amount of cargo transported along the Northern sea route is growing.

"It is now about 4 million tons per year, is expected to reach 70-80 million tons per year. The need for courts to operate on the Northern sea route is formed mainly by Russian oil and gas companies," he said.

Another area is the far East, including ports of the Northern sea route. Government regulations of 31 August 2017№1046, №1047, №1048, №1049, №1050, №1051 provided funding for the creation of territories of priority socio-economic development "Nadezhda", "Khabarovsk", "Kangalassy", "Michael" at the expense of means of the Federal budget increased in total volume more than 5 billion rubles. Also provides increased funding for the construction of engineering and transport infrastructure of territories of advanced socio-economic development through regional and municipal budgets and extra-budgetary sources, said the MP.

In the state program of socio-economic development of the Far East includes about 20 private investment projects. The total declared amount of investments — 545 billion rubles, he added.

"Harmonious development of the Arctic and far Eastern territories requires, including the creation of a modern road network, capable of providing year-round delivery of cargoes in small batches from port areas to settlements and enterprises, including the task of defense. Roads of regional and local significance will link the settlements, mining and processing enterprises", — said Fedyaev.

Arctic shipping

Historically, Russia has a unique practice of Arctic shipping. The Northern sea route (NSR) as a transport artery is first of all, our geopolitical advantage: free access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, reducing the time of delivery and in the medium term competitive advantage among countries in the exploitation of mineral reserves in the Arctic, said the expert of the Center for strategic estimates and projections Anna Gornova.

SMP as the main traffic artery in the Arctic — the most efficient transit route, uniting in a common transport network of European and far Eastern sea and river ports of Russia, by the shortest route connecting the ports of Europe and Asia-Pacific countries.

"All our advantages in this area should be secured legally. Namely, in accordance with article 234 of the UN Convention on the law of the sea to include the development and adoption of legislative acts stipulating the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation on Sevmorput within the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation in the Arctic covered by ice during the greater part of the year, including the Northern and Eastern part of the Barents sea and the Northern part of the Bering sea," suggests the expert.

The specific conditions of the Arctic affect the special relationship of the Arctic States to some waterways and the mode of the latter. This applies to the Northern sea route of Russia, the Northwest passage of Canada and Norwegian water communications "Indreleia". Navigation conditions along the NSR require constant maintenance — ice, pilotage, meteorological and so on, said Gornova. All of this implies a special legal regime, the route and the marginal water areas through which the trail passes. Soviet doctrine relied on the General rule, recognizing the spread of the sovereignty of the coastal state over the individual bays or the sea, the filler type and the specific practices of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, she said.


In July 2015 in Oslo the five coastal countries (Russia, USA, Norway, Canada and Denmark) signed a Declaration on preventing unregulated fishing in the high seas area. The provisions of the Declaration provides that conduct relevant research in the field of fisheries in the Central Arctic, monitoring and surveillance activities carried out there. Despite the absence of any fishery activity in the area, USA intensifitsiruetsa a Treaty already binding. Work on the draft Agreement, joined another five observer countries of the Arctic Council: South Korea, China, Japan, the EU and Iceland, openly declaring their interests in the Central Arctic. Work on the project is in the format "5+5", reminded the expert of the Center for strategic estimates and projections Anna Gornova.

"Russia in the project agreement are not satisfied such a fundamental point that the Arctic States have actually put on an equal footing with the Nearctic, which is inconsistent with the provisions Ilulissat Declaration and the Declaration of 2015 and United Nations Convention on the law of the sea 1982, it is Logical that fish stocks in the open part of the ocean in fact come from exceptional ekonomzone coastal States that are historically responsible policy for their management and conservation. Another point of disagreement is the status of so-called fisheries protection zone around Svalbard, which was introduced by Norway, not recognized by Russia," — said the expert.

One of the key points of disagreement was the principle of decision-making under the Agreement. Russia offers either a consensus of all ten countries, five of the Arctic or when blocking the voice of Russia as the country with the longest coastline in the Arctic, the countries that made the greatest contribution to research in the Arctic, she says, noting that while such an approach understanding and agreement from other countries finds — the United States insist on the principle of ¾ among all parties to the agreement or three of the five Arctic States.

"The Russian side noted the absence in the draft Agreement of such key definitions as "IUU fishing" and "fishing vessel". In the final version of the text reflects the comment of the Russian side about the possibility of independent implementation of national scientific programmes and the right of ownership of the results of such research within their own economic zone. Also, the Russian side insisted on the delimitation of search fisheries (experimental fishery) and the actual research. Among other the proposals of the parties is the priority of Arctic States in relation to the definitions of "rules of the game" in the research area as well as the creation of a common body of scientific knowledge about the Arctic," said Gornova.

In the case of ignoring the fundamental proposals of the Russian side the Federal Agency for fishery, together with interested Federal bodies of Executive power, the roundtable participants recommend to abandon the signing of the agreement is the wording of the final document.

"However, the refusal to participate in the signing of the Agreement for Russia is not the best option. Need strategies and approaches that will allow the Russian Federation to consolidate the priorities of a major player in the Arctic on the basis of geographical and historical facts. The fundamental needs to become a recognized scientific and research achievements of scientists and explorers tsarist Russia and the USSR", — the expert believes.


Tags: Russia , Arctic , Anna Gornova , fishery , Experience of ice swimming