George Soroka

This article examines Russia’s evolving approach to Arctic development in light of the Kremlin’s “Asian pivot” and the ongoing political rift between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine. Specifically, I contend that the Arctic represents a key component of Moscow’s attempts to reorient geopolitically and economically after its annexation of Crimea, and that it is part of a larger, long-term plan to develop Siberia and the Russian Far East as both a resource base for the country and a transit route for goods moving between Asia and Europe. Consequently, this piece assesses the region’s political economy from the perspective of two interrelated Arctic projects—the construction of the Yamal LNG facility and government-led efforts to promote utilization of the Northern Sea Route. *Adopting a constructivist approach, I argue that Russia’s recent efforts to develop the Arctic are motivated not only by material incentives, but also involve a significant status-seeking component that draws on Russia’s view of itself as the preeminent Arctic power.

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