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Arctic Yearbook 2012
improve the quality of life for indigenous peoples and their social and economic activities;
ninth, to develop the Arctic resources base through improved technological capabilities; and
tenth, to modernize and develop the infrastructure of the Arctic transport system and
fisheries in the Russian Arctic (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 2009).
The State Policy in the Arctic is strongly linked with and supported by other federal policies
and strategies as the region is a strategic resource base for the whole Federation. This is an
important consideration in the context of the socio-economic gap that exists within the
Federation. Furthermore, it is possible to interpret the State Policy as a pragmatic means for
domestic politics and development of the Federation, particularly in light of infrastructural
challenges in the Russian Arctic and the out-of-date condition of elements such as the road
network, airfields, harbors and fleets. Improvements are needed, and of particular
importance is the NSR with a status of national passage and federal line of communications.
When it comes to real priorities of the Russian Federation in the Arctic, this State Policy
document is not very helpful as so many priorities are included – altogether ten – all of
which are called ‘strategic priorities’. Thus it comes as no surprise that several interpretations
concerning the actual main priorities exist. An example would be Lomagin’s (2008) short list:
first, active extraction of natural resources; second, building transport, telecommunications
and border infrastructure; and third, making the Arctic a primary strategic resource base of
Russia. Or, perhaps the most recent list of Russian real “top priorities” in the Arctic can be
found in the then-Prime Minister Putin’s speech (Putin, 2010) in September 2010 with three
top priorities: the creation of top-quality, comfortable living conditions for local people;
support for new economic growth for large-scale domestic and foreign investment and
exchange of innovations; and a substantial investment in the scientific and nature-
conservation infrastructure including cleaning-up all the garbage.
Correspondingly, the main objectives of the State Policy can be interpreted to be on one
hand, stabilizing Russia’s northern frontiers and guaranteeing legal ground for exploration of
Arctic resources, and on the other hand, bridging the gap in socio-economic disparities
between Russian Arctic regions and the rest of the country, paying special attention to
indigenous populations and sustainable development. The tools with which to achieve these
objectives will primarily be through bilateral and multilateral cooperation in areas that
provide relatively speedy pay offs and strengthen national security. The State Policy defines
Russia’s basic national interests in the Arctic very clearly: the Russian Arctic as a strategic