15 Feb 2010

On Thin Ice? (Mis)interpreting Russian Policy in the High North

Roderick Kefferpütz

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Climate change in the Arctic is expected to make the region a lot busier as new strategic resources are becoming available. The Russian Federation is a key player in this context having put forth a comprehensive Arctic strategy. Russian policy towards the so-called High North, however, is oftentimes not seen in its entirety and has received a plethora of criticism in the Western media and foreign policy community. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of Russian actions in the High North by providing a succinct overview of Russian policies in the region and identifying the fundamental rationale behind them. The paper concludes that Russia’s Arctic policy is not only a lot more nuanced but also not very different from the policies conducted by other riparian states.