Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North offers the first comprehensive examination of Russia's Arctic strategy, ranging from climate change issues and territorial disputes to energy policy and domestic challenges. As the receding polar ice increases the accessibility of the Arctic region, all the northern countries are maneuvering for geopolitical and resource security.
Geographically, Russia controls half of the Arctic coastline, 40 percent of the land area beyond the Circumpolar North, and three quarters of the Arctic population. In total, the sea and land surface area of the Russian Arctic is about 6 million square kilometers. Economically, as much as 20 percent of Russia's GDP and its total exports is generated north of the Arctic Circle. In terms of resources, about 95 percent of its gas, 75 percent of its oil, 96 percent of its platinum, 90 percent of its nickel and cobalt, and 60 percent of its copper reserves are found in Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions. Add to this the riches of the continental shelf, seabed, and waters, ranging from rare earth minerals to fish stocks. After a spike of aggressive rhetoric when Russia planted its flag in the Arctic seabed in 2007, Moscow has attempted to strengthen its position as a key factor in developing an international consensus concerning a region where its relative advantages are manifest, despite its diminishing military, technological, and human capacities.
"Marlene Laruelle's Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North is essential reading for anyone concerned with the Arctic and Russian politics. In an analytically innovative and accessible manner, this comprehensive account covers the key policy challenges and central actors that shape – and have shaped historically – Russia's approach to the Arctic."
– Elana Wilson Rowe, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
"Marlene Laruelle's timely and insightful examination of Russia's Arctic policies, domestic challenges and emerging geo-economic dynamics provides us with an invaluable guide as to what motivates and animates this critical Arctic actor, with important regional and international consequences. Scholars, experts, and policy makers will recognize Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North as a foundational work that deepens and furthers our understanding of an uncertain future for both Russia and the Arctic."
– Heather A. Conley, Center for Strategic and International Studies
"A must read for those interested in the policy of Russia – the country with the largest Arctic territory and population – toward this increasingly important world region."
– Timothy Heleniak, Editor of Polar Geography
"In Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North, author Marlene Laruelle provides a welcome broadening of perspective of Russia's Arctic policies. Instead of viewing the Arctic from a single Kremlin-centric vantage point, Dr. Laruelle digs deep into Russia's security, energy, transportation, development and ocean policies to reach beyond the generalities found in press accounts. Her detailed assessments deflate much of the current hype surrounding Russia's northern shipping and energy development activities, but they also bring to light enticing possibilities if Russia adopts a long-term perspective that integrates its functional and geographic interests and the interests and potentialities of its northern and eastern territories."
– Caitlyn L. Antrim, Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans