Narratives of the North: Contested geographic imaginaries and the case of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
This chapter explores the concept of ‘wilderness’ in Alaska, as a Northern locale. Using the controversy over permitting an access road through legally protected wilderness in Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as a case study, the research seeks to untangle the ways in which mainstream environmentalist discourse, and the epistemological concepts through which it operates, is implicated in the erasure of Indigenous presence and the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous lands and rights. Grounded in theories from Settler Colonial studies and Indigenous studies, the research deductively applies a Critical Discourse Analysis to public comments made on the Izembek NWR Land Exchange/Access Road Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to offer a discussion on the ways in which the North’s geographic imaginaries are constructed and contested within the wider frameworks of environmental conservation, economic development, and decolonization.
Security of Indigenous peoples in Russia’s Arctic policy: Exposing the oxymoron of state-determined self-determination
Since the late 1980s, international law as well as academic scholarship have been devoting increasing attention to the security of Indigenous peoples. The international community has accepted Indigenous peoples as collective actors with distinct rights under international law. Similarly, academic scholarship has recognised them as both referent objects of security and, to an extent, security actors. Post-Cold War transformations in the Arctic exemplify the special role of Indigenous peoples in the field of security. However, their security still largely depends on the policy of states under whose jurisdiction they live. Russia’s domestic policy developments, particularly amid the increased suppression of civil society since 2011, have deviated from the course of international law and scholarship. While policy-makers have persistently referred to the protection of Indigenous peoples as one of the primary objectives of Russia’s Arctic policy, human rights bodies have repeatedly noted the government’s violations of Indigenous rights, especially in the context of the ‘foreign agent’ legislation and gas infrastructure development in the Yamal peninsula. Instead of treating this discordance as merely a case of dishonest political rhetoric, this article aims to explain it by exposing the government’s paternalistic relation to society, which underlines Russia’s policy. It thereby reveals a paradox of state-determined self-determination – a rejection of this right as inherent in peoples. The article concludes that Russia’s denial of this right compromises Indigenous security, because the government alone cannot ensure its protection. Such findings could facilitate a critical assessment of the protection of Indigenous security in states whose regimes dominate society.
The desecuritization of Greenland’s security? How the Greenlandic self-government envision postindependence national defense and security policy
Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen
President Trump’s “offer” to purchase Greenland has placed the country at the heart of world affairs and great power rivalry in the Arctic. Greenland is currently enjoying considerable interest from both the U.S. and China while Russia is increasing its military capabilities in the region. Traditionally, Greenlandic politicians have not been interested in defense and military spending without civilian purpose. And as security policy is constitutionally outside the self-government’s authority the issue has not been high on the agenda. However, as Greenland is actively seeking independence from Denmark, the future of Greenlandic defense has become crucial to understanding its independence aspirations. This article examines how the Greenlandic self-government and the political parties envision the future of Greenland’s security framework through close readings of government coalition agreements, political statements and media texts. Based on The Copenhagen School of Securitization Studies, the main argument is that Greenlandic defense and foreign policy is characterized by desecuritization. That is, a tendency towards downplaying the security and defense aspects of independence while instead highlighting i.e. economic aspects. The article analyzes this logic in Greenland’s recent foreign policy aspirations and in debates on defense. Analytically,desecuritization is linked to two underlying narratives which Greenlandic politicians use to rhetorically downplay security aspects of defense and foreign policy by referring to either economic self-sufficiency or identity politics of the Inuit.
Eduard Galimullin & Yuri Matveenko
This paper provides an overview of Russia’s Arctic policy with a focus on recent changes in the spatial development and legislative/institutional frameworks. It briefly explains the definition of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) and examines its basic consolidation mechanism, as well as socio-economic challenges to its development and some legislative gaps. The paper identifies the roles of various actors and institutions in decision-making processes. In doing so, it also investigates how both Western sanctions and oil prices affected the realization of the Arctic policy’s main objectives. It argues that Russia will continue to promote the benefits of using the NSR and to attract all interested parties in the exploitation of the AZRF’s natural resources, but there is a need to revise some strategies in order to do it effectively, considering new circumstances.
Through an in-depth analysis of the 2013 document Leitlinien deutscher Arktispolitik, along with other policy documents published by the German government over the past decade, this paper assesses Germany’s perceived national interest behind developing into a non-Arctic state with an Arctic policy and which priorities led up to the publication of Germany’s revised Arktispolitik in 2019. This paper provides an analysis of various industries and interests, such as shipping, tourism, scientific research, and energy security, to understand Germany’s economic and geostrategic background that has fueled and influenced the creation of its Arktispolitik. The concluding analysis forwards the argument that Germany recently published its Arctic policy to legitimize its claim of having a stake in the Arctic to further its economic interests, such as shipbuilding and tourism,as well as strengthen its existing political and strategic alliances, most namely NATO and the Arctic Council.
Duncan Depledge, Caroline Kennedy-Pipe & James Rogers
The United Kingdom (UK) is not an Arctic state, but over the past decade its policies towards the region have developed in significant ways. Since 2013 the British Government has published two Arctic Policy Frameworks, setting out commitments to working cooperatively with the Arctic states and other stakeholders to ensure that as climate change occurs the region remains peaceful. In 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) committed to publishing an Arctic Defence Strategy, that would “put the Arctic and the High North central to the security of the United Kingdom”. This article examines the evolution of UK defence interests in the Arctic, whilst also highlighting the emergence of a significant Scottish dimension in UK Arctic affairs.