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North Castle Books

Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North
Authored by: Marlene Laruelle

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-3500-6 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-3501-3
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USD: $89.95 USD: $34.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 280pp. Maps, tables, bibliographic references, index.
Publication Date: November 2013.  


Description: This book offers the first comprehensive examination of Russia's Arctic strategy, ranging from climate change issues and territorial disputes to energy policy and domestic challenges. As the receding polar ice increases the accessibility of the Arctic region, all the northern countries are maneuvering for geopolitical and resource security. Geographically, Russia controls half of the Arctic coastline, 40 percent of the land area beyond the Circumpolar North, and three quarters of the Arctic population. In total, the sea and land surface area of the Russian Arctic is about 6 million square kilometers. Economically, as much as 20 percent of Russia's GDP and its total exports is generated north of the Arctic Circle. In terms of resources, about 95 percent of its gas, 75 percent of its oil, 96 percent of its platinum, 90 percent of its nickel and cobalt, and 60 percent of its copper reserves are found in Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions. Add to this the riches of the continental shelf, seabed, and waters, ranging from rare earth minerals to fish stocks. After a spike of aggressive rhetoric when Russia planted its flag in the Arctic seabed in 2007, Moscow has attempted to strengthen its position as a key factor in developing an international consensus concerning a region where its relative advantages are manifest, despite its diminishing military, technological, and human capacities.

Selected Contents:

List of Maps and Tables

1. Russia's Arctic Policy and the Interplay of the Domestic and International

Discursive and Bureaucratic Production
Russia's Decision Making Regarding Arctic Affairs
The Arctic as a Flagship for Putin-Style Statehood
An Internationally Recognized "Brand" for Russia
The Arctic: A Soft Power Tool for Bilateral Relations?

2. A Territory or an Identity? The Far North in Russia's Statehood
The Imperial and Soviet Memory of the Arctic
What Administrative Status for Arctic Regions?
Indigenous Peoples as Marginalized Stakeholders?
The Nationalist Reading of the Arctic: Russia's New Lebensraum

3. Russia's Spatial and Demographic Challenges
"Archipelago Russia": A Fragmented Territory
Russia's Demographic Puzzle
Evolving Patterns of Arctic Demography and Mobility
Is Migration the Future of the Arctic Workforce?

4. Climate Change and Its Expected Impact on Russia
Framing Climate Change Debates
Climate Change in the Arctic
Climate Change in the Russian Federation
Calculating the Impact of Climate Change on the Russian Economy
Russia's Domestic Actors on Climate Change
Russia's Hesitant Climate Change Policy

5. The Russian Stance on Arctic Territorial Conflicts
The Soviet Historical Referent: The 1926 Decree
Russian Claims on the Arctic Continental Shelf
The Russian-U.S. Agreement on the Bering and Chukchi Seas
The Issue of the Barents Sea and Its Resolution
The Dispute over the Svalbard Archipelago and Spitsbergen

6. Projecting Military Power in the Arctic
The Russian Army Still Lost in Transition
Upgrading the Northern Fleet and the Nuclear Deterrence
Russia's Renewed Security Activism in the Arctic

7. Resource Nationalism vs. Patterns of Cooperation
Beyond the Metrics of the "Arctic Bonanza"
Russia's Oil and Gas Strategies in the Arctic
The Costs and Risks of Arctic-Based Energy
Foreign Actors and the Russian State: Competition or Cooperation?
The Arctic as a Mineral Eldorado?
Hopes for Reviving the Fishing Industry

8. Unlocking the Arctic? Shipping Along the Northern Sea Route
Sovereignty Issues in the Russian Straits
Hopes for an International Trade Lane via the Northern Sea Route
Ice Without Hype: The Harsh Realities of Arctic Shipping
A More Realistic Future: The Sevmorput' as a Domestic Route
Modernizing the Fleet and the Shipyard Sector


About the Author

Comment(s): "Marlene Laruelle's Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North is essential reading for anyone concerned with the Arctic and Russian politics. In an analytically innovative and accessible manner, this comprehensive account covers the key policy challenges and central actors that shape--and have shaped historically--Russia's approach to the Arctic." -- Elana Wilson Rowe, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

"Marlene Laruelle's timely and insightful examination of Russia's Arctic policies, domestic challenges and emerging geo-economic dynamics provides us with an invaluable guide as to what motivates and animates this critical Arctic actor, with important regional and international consequences. Scholars, experts, and policy makers will recognize Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North as a foundational work that deepens and furthers our understanding of an uncertain future for both Russia and the Arctic." -- Heather A. Conley, Center for Strategic and International Studies

"A must read for those interested in the policy of Russia--the country with the largest Arctic territory and population--toward this increasingly important world region." -- Timothy Heleniak, Editor of Polar Geography

"In Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North, author Marlene Laruelle provides a welcome broadening of perspective of Russia's Arctic policies. Instead of viewing the Arctic from a single Kremlin-centric vantage point, Dr. Laruelle digs deep into Russia's security, energy, transportation, development and ocean policies to reach beyond the generalities found in press accounts. Her detailed assessments deflate much of the current hype surrounding Russia's northern shipping and energy development activities, but they also bring to light enticing possibilities if Russia adopts a long-term perspective that integrates its functional and geographic interests and the interests and potentialities of its northern and eastern territories." -- Caitlyn L. Antrim, Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans

Review(s): "Laruelle's book is wonderfully accessible, informative and engaging. It is well-structured, each chapter has a clear focus and the key points are summarized in the end of each chapter." -- Polar Record

"This book is very useful as a comprehensive discussion of Russian thinking, policies, and challenges in the Arctic. It puts them into perspective and the overviews and conclusions are very readable in themselves." -- Arctic

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