Natural resources play a key role in the economic development of the Russian North. However, natural resource extraction cannot alone promote the long-term socio-economic sustainability of resource peripheries. My paper analyses the challenges of economic diversification in two single-industry mining towns in the Murmansk region, Kirovsk and Revda, which have taken different historical development paths. Tourism has developed in Kirovsk alongside the mining industry since the 1930s, while mining has been the only significant industry in Revda. However, recently both Kirovsk and Revda have adopted tourism as the main target of their economic diversification. My paper asks how the challenge of diversifying the economic development of these two communities can be explained by path-dependency, the resource curse and paternalism. The empirical data of the study was collected by the author on fieldwork trip in 2012. It consists of semi-structured interviews with town, region and enterprise representatives in Kirovsk, Revda and Murmansk. Moreover, articles from regional and local newspapers concerning the diversification efforts of these two communities were used. Both interviews and articles were analyzed using qualitative methods. The paper reveals how the different development paths of these communities have shaped their ability to promote economic diversification in the present era. This paper shows that the obstacles to economic diversification are not only related to obvious issues, such as the lack of realistic alternatives, but also to deeper structural hindrances to the use of local potential and human capital to create diversified local economies in the Russian Arctic.
In October 2013 the United Kingdom became the first sovereign state not included among the Arctic Council's members to publish an official Arctic strategy document. The paper discusses the human, environmental, and commercial aspects of Arctic management in turn, and places a strong emphasis throughout on British scientific contributions. It seems to be trying to stress relevant UK competences, and keep the door open for UK firms to get their fair share in development, while assuring the Arctic powers proper that London respects their rights and will behave as a 'model' Arctic Council observer. Compared with other Arctic strategies, the UK document is rather light on security-related analysis, climate concerns and commercial facts, taking in fact a rather laisser-faire position on economic development. It says little on the European Union's role. It remains to be seen whether this presentation of the UK position is complete and compelling enough to secure the desired national influence in Arctic affairs. Much may depend on how other AC observers behave and react.
With the Afghanistan war winding down, the Arctic, already a hot button issue among Copenhagen policymakers, has become one of the main issues on the Danish foreign policy agenda. This article examines the challenges facing the Danish political-military planning in the Arctic. Danish Arctic policy reflects a wider Danish grand strategy that sees Greenland as a bargaining chip vis-à-vis the US. Danish political strategy emphasizes the region’s well-functioning cooperative order, while standing its ground in disputes with other nations. Denmark is thus willing to enhance its military deterrent in the Arctic. Military strategy focuses on handling traffic patterns in Greenlandic waters, where the Danish Armed Forces are responsible for both military defense of the realm and coast guard tasks. Danish defense planning aims to maximize regional cooperation and to diminish tensions between Denmark and Greenland.
The Arctic has been playing a central role in Russia’s identity and economic development. On the naval-strategic level, the most relevant for Moscow is maintaining of the credibility of nuclear deterrence, securing the open access of strategic submarines to world’s seas and in theoretical case of large-scale European war the Russian Navy´s strategic objective would be to interrupt the connection between Europe and North America (the latter was more eminent during the Cold War but still it is a part of Russian strategic thinking and objectives). Besides that, recent developments shows that the Arctic’s importance for Russia is not only growing but also widening and new sectors have been gradually added. Moscow’s strategic goal is to determinate Russia as preeminent Arctic nation eminently clear by political, economic, and military means to "defend" its interest. As part of its effort to create a comprehensive presence in the Arctic, Russia has been steadily expanding its military component there since 2007. However, these movements are primarily focused on protection of coastlines and offshore energy extraction installations, search-and-rescue operations and icebreaker capabilities, therefore should not be seen strictly as an militarization of the region. The occasional assertive statements by Russian representatives are more tailored for domestic audience rather than threatening factor to the other Arctic states. More substantive signals of Russian intent would be refusal to recognize the decisions or authority of international organizations in the Arctic, or its withdrawal from such organizations. In observing Russian activities in the Arctic, it is important to analyze the relevance of these statements to map it in those framework and wider context. The aim of proposed paper is to focus on the relevance and substance of above mentioned developments.
Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) had a major contribution to the lowering of military tensions and the reduction of false threat perceptions in Europe at the end of the Cold War. Embedded in the theoretical framework of the Bargaining Theory, this article claims to understand the role of CSBMs as an early structural tool of conflict prevention. Based on this theoretical understanding, this article focuses on practical implications and lessons learned from existing CSBM regimes in the OSCE framework and provides suggestions for a possible extension of these regimes to the Arctic Region. As the co-operation among all Arctic states is strong, this article further argues that the implementation of military information exchanges as well as measures of verification should not be seen as to counter any form of emerging military tensions, but rather as a means to further manifest the good bi- and multilateral relations in the area and in order to serve as a role model for other geographical regions and the discussion on future reforms of arms control.