Will the Arctic region remain a "territory of dialogue" in the context of the competing priorities of the main players?

On October 26, 2020, the Strategy for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and Ensuring National Security until 2035 was approved.

 

🔹 It was expected that in the updated version of the Strategy Russia will pay more attention to the new challenges and threats that characterize the Arctic. However, compared to the previous version, the rhetoric has become even tougher: for the first time, a continuing climate of heightened conflict is presented as a feature of the region, one of the articles is devoted to ensuring Russia's military security in the Arctic. While other Arctic and subarctic states focus specifically on non-military threats to security in the region, Russia continues to steadily build up its military potential there.


It is worth noting that although all non-military threats in the region are in the wake of climate change, the Arctic states look at them differently.


🇳🇴 🇩🇰 The Scandinavian part of the Arctic, represented by Norway and Denmark, expresses the greatest concern about environmental threats: ice melting in the Arctic Ocean, Sea level rise, melting permafrost and the risks of a more chaotic climate around the world.


🇨🇦 Canada is more interested in the threats to indigenous peoples caused by climate change.


🇺🇸 During the Trump administration, the importance of the US military presence in the Arctic increased, since the president was not interested in the climate issues. The US Air Force has deployed more fifth-generation fighters in Alaska than anywhere else on the planet, and the US Navy has re-established its Second Fleet, which is tasked with patrolling the North Atlantic. President Elect J. Biden intends to return the state to the international environmental arena, but the US military potential in the region, strengthened during the Trump presidency, will obviously remain the same.


🇷🇺 Russia does not pay much attention to climate and environmental issues, continuing, as before, to focus on socio-economic issues. In the Russian security paradigm, the environmental aspect does not play a significant role. Despite the fact that a separate article is devoted to the environmental aspect in the Arctic Zone Development Strategy, the statements are mainly declarative in nature. The Arctic is also not mentioned in a number of federal laws that are directly related to this region, for example, in the Federal Law “On the Continental Shelf of the Russian Federation” and the Federal Law “On Subsoil”.


❓ The current situation raises a fair question: will the Arctic region remain a "territory of dialogue" in the context of the competing priorities of the main players?