JRL NEWSWATCH: “Climate Change in Russia and the Weaponization of Wheat” – The Center for Climate and Security/ Leah Emanuel

Arctic Map

“As temperatures in the Russian Arctic rapidly increase and permafrost continues to melt, Russian land feasible for wheat production is beginning to grow. … While wheat makes up only 2.3% of Russia’s total exports, this small percentage constitutes a major portion of the global wheat export market. … Relying on wheat production in these newly farmable lands, however, will not […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “An oil spill in Russia’s Arctic exposes risks for Moscow’s Far North plans” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan, Andrew Freedman

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Thawing permafrost in the rapidly warming region leaves Moscow’s ambitious Arctic expansion proposals literally on shaky ground.” “… [S]urg[ing] … climate change in interior Russia – more than three times the global average – is throwing new risks in the way of … Putin’s Far North agenda, among his top domestic initiatives. A key danger is … more infrastructure atop […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Is No Arctic Axis; Russia and China’s partnership in the north is primarily driven by business, not politics.” – Foreign Policy/ Elizabeth Buchanan

Arctic Map

“… [C]ommercial realpolitik is at the heart of [Russia and China’s Arctic] engagement. … [even as it] navigates existing fault lines, such as Beijing’s failure to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s nonalignment in the … India-China conflict. … [R]egional cooperation is due to … shared interest[s] in maintaining domestic stability. Long-term economic development ventures and the viability of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Melting Arctic Permafrost Threatens Russian Energy Firms’ Bottom Line – Morgan Stanley” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Polar Bear on Snow with Bare Ground in the Background, adapted from image at nasa.gov with photo credit to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Eric Regehr

Rapidly melting Arctic permafrost poses the greatest threat to major Russian energy producers’ infrastructure and financial indicators, according to a new Morgan Stanley report […]

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Siberia’s ‘Poles Of Cold’ Are Obliterating Heat Records, And Alarming Climate Scientists

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

.. The rapid pace of warming has stunned climate scientists, despite years of gradually rising temperatures. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Far-Reaching Consequences of Siberia’s Climate-Change-Driven Wildfires” – Smithsonian Magazine/ Theresa Machemer

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Smoke from the blazes is now reaching the West Coast of the United States.” “… [S]moke from the fires … spans over 1,000 miles … causing hazy skies [in] the northwestern United States …. Permafrost is rich in organic material that froze before it could completely decompose. Melting permafrost releases greenhouse gases on top of the pollution released by the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Realism in the Arctic” – The National Interest/ Kenneth Yalowitz, Ross A. Virginia

Arctic Map

“The United States and Russia have disagreements on many issues, including the organization of the international system. No ‘reset’ in relations is in sight but there is a need to put a floor in the relationship and work on possible areas for cooperation. The Arctic can be one.” “… The Arctic is [Russia’s] highest priority strategic national interest …. Arctic […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tie for warmest 12-month period globally as Siberia sizzles (Update)” – PhysOrg/ Marlowe Hood

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“Temperatures soared 10 degrees Celsius above average across much of permafrost-laden Siberia last month …. Earth’s average surface temperature for July 2019-June 2020 was 1.3C above pre-industrial levels …. In the Arctic … an hourly temperature record for June … was set on the 21st near Verkhoyansk in northeastern Russia …. [P]reviously registered Arctic hourly highs in 1969 and 1973 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Arctic sets ‘fantastical’ heat records: weather chief” – AFP

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“The Russian Arctic set record temperatures in June that sparked abnormal tundra fires … Russia’s weather service [director] said … blaming climate change for … ‘fantastical’ anomalies. Russia’s northern territories, including parts of Yakutia region which borders the Arctic ocean, have faced a heat wave … with some districts declaring a state of emergency. … He noted one record in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Arctic Circle’s record temperatures heighten global warming concerns” – Financial Times/ Leslie Hook, Max Seddon

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“Wild anomalies such as the 38C recorded in northern Russia this week underline climate change threat.” “… [N]orthern Russia has produced the highest temperature ever recorded inside the Arctic Circle …. [R]esidents of Verkhoyansk, north-east of Siberia in … Yakutia … have … been sunbathing in a town that at other times of the year shares the record as the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Siberia’s persistent, freakishly mild weather is reverberating around the world” – Washington Post/ Andrew Freedman, Isabelle Khurshudyan

Cartoon Sun and Thermometer, adapted from cdc.gov

“The planet just had its warmest May, continuing a streak from 2014.” “… Siberia … has seen persistently extreme temperatures since the winter … [leading] to a damaging Arctic oil spill, spark[ing] early outbreaks of large wildfires and help[ing] vault global temperatures to new milestones. … Permafrost thawing across Siberia … has caused widespread problems such as buckled roads, collapsed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin heightens the strategic role of the Northern Fleet” – Barents Observer/ Thomas Nilsen

Russian Naval Vessel file photo

“In an early June decree, President Vladimir Putin de facto equals the Northern Fleet with a military district” “… [Starting in] 2021, the Northern Fleet will have the same status as Russia’s four other military districts … the Western, Southern, Central and Eastern. … [T]he Republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Murmansk Oblast and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug will be part […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The massive Norilsk fuel spill could be linked to permafrost thaw, a growing threat to Arctic infrastructure” – Arctic Today / Melody Schreiber

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Infrastructure built on permafrost needs to be better monitored, experts and officials say.” “… [O]ne of the largest ever oil spills in the Russian Arctic may have been caused in part by permafrost thaw, according to the [polluting] company …. Experts … long warned that … [without] precautionary steps … such thaw could cause[] billions of dollars in damage to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A brazen foray into the Barents yields predictable Cold War-type friction” – Responsible Statecraft/ Lyle J. Goldstein

File Photo of U.S. Naval Ships in Joint Exercises with UK in Barents Sea, adapted from defense.gov image with photo credit to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Nichols

” … [M]ilitary escalations in the High North need more attention … [not] the [U.S.] media focus … on … Russian trolls, social media influence peddlers, spies, and various ‘useful idiots.’ … [W]hen the New York Times … seemingly … tr[ied] to investigate what might actually be going on under the … waters of the Barents and off the Norwegian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Diesel Spill In Russian Arctic Could Be Putin’s Exxon Valdez” – Forbes/ Ariel Cohen

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“… Putin ordered a state of emergency … in the Taymyr region near the Arctic Ocean, after 20,000 tons (150,000 barrels) of diesel fuel spilled from a Russian power plant into … soil and a nearby river. The accident occurred in the Siberian city … Norilsk … [T]he plant’s fuel reservoir collapsed into thawing permafrost, releasing its contents. Diesel is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tanker crosses Russian Arctic route without icebreaker assistance; Commercial shipping on the Northern Sea Route starts earlier than ever before.” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

By late May, a carrier had set out on the icy route without icebreaker escort. “… [S]ea ice along the Russian Arctic coast is quickly vanishing as temperatures … have been reaching record highs. With the retreating ice comes tanker traffic. … [T]he ‘Christophe de Margerie’ … on May [19th] kickstarted this year’s shipping season across the eastern part of […]

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RUSSIALINK: “NATO holds first post-Cold War exercise in Barents Sea – Russian Defense Ministry” – Interfax

NATO Meeting File Photo

NATO has stepped up military activity in the Arctic and has begun practicing intercepting Russian ballistic missiles in this area, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operative Directorate Sergei Rudskoi said […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Arctic Likely to See Ice-Free Summers Despite Climate Action, Study Says” – Moscow Times

Arctic Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 22, 2020) The Arctic will likely lose its summertime ice cover by 2050 even if current levels of CO2 emissions are significantly cut, a new study published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal has warned. Climate change has reduced sea ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean in recent decades, with 2019 tying with 2012 […]

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Russia Makes Move On Antarctica’s 513 Billion Barrels Of Oil

Antarctica Map

(Oilprice.com – Simon Watkins – March 16, 2020) Rosgeologia’s seismic surveys and other related work since the 70s to now indicate that there is at least 513 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent in Antarctica, and Moscow has now set its sights on the world’s most underexplored continent Given the march that it has stolen on everyone else in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin signs Arctic master plan; The strategic document paves way for a massive industrialization of the country’s far north” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“… The document covers the period until year 2035 … authored by the Ministry of the Far East and Arctic. … approved by government and the national Security Council in late 2019. … [In addition to other factors cited, i]t prepares the ground for a major natural resource exploitation in the region and helps develop the Northern Sea Route, the […]

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The Race For Arctic Oil Is Heating Up

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – February 6, 2020) Despite climate concerns and environmentalist backlash against exploration for oil and gas in pristine sensitive regions of the Arctic, companies continue to explore for hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic Circle, in Russia and Norway in particular. The largest Russian energy companies are looking to explore more Arctic oil and gas resources on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘Where Is Our Land?’: Challenges for Indigenous Groups in the Russian Arctic” – Kennan Institute/ Arbakhan K. Magomedov

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Arbakhan Magomedov – Nov. 14, 2019) Arbakhan Magomedov is visiting professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities. (RSUH). His fieldwork in the Far North was done as part of the project “Rising Voices of Northern Indigenous People in the Context of Growing Pressure of Russian Nationalism,” for which he received financial support through […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russia Stands To Change With The Climate” – Forbes/ James Rodgers

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“… In a climate where winter temperatures in Arctic regions can fall below -50 degrees C (-58 degrees F), warmer weather might offer some relief. A research paper … even predicted … ‘Global warming will likely to bring more positive rather than negative effects for Russia’s food security and agriculture ….’ The same paper warned … ‘A major negative impact […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin wants new connection between Arctic coast and Indian Ocean; The construction of a railway line to Sabetta is what is needed, the president argues” – The Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Asia Map

“… ‘The idea is to connect the ports on the Northern Sea Route with the ports of the Pacific and Indian Oceans by means of transport arterials through Eastern Siberia, the heartlands of Eurasia,’ … [Putin said to Valdai] conference participants. … [such as] Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, King of Jordan Abdullah II, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Filipinian leader […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s $150 Billion Bet on Arctic Warming; France’s Macron slams the northern shipping route as an ecological disaster in the making, but Asian and European companies are lining up for a share of its (potential) riches.” – Transitions Online/ Ky Krauthamer

Arctic Map

“… [Russian has high hopes for] the [Arctic’s] Northern Sea Route [NSR] … owing to the long-term thinning of the ice pack. … [Use of the route] could shorten the journey from East Asia to Europe by up to two weeks. Norway … is skeptical[,] … has concerns about the environmental dangers of increased shipping in the fragile northern environment, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Arctic leader warns of ‘dramatic’ climate change impact; Head of remote Yakutia region expresses concern about effects of rising temperatures” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“The head of Russia’s largest Arctic territory has warned of ‘very dramatic’ impacts from climate change … Moscow comes under increasing pressure …. [with climate] emerg[ing] as an important domestic issue … due to … large-scale melting of permafrost in the north of the country and temperature increases … outpac[ing] global averages. … creat[ing] serious knock-on effects for Russia, including […]

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Russia Could Allow Private Oil Firms To Explore Arctic Shelf

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – September 4, 2019) The Russian ministry of natural resources is open to the idea that private oil and gas firms could be allowed to explore Russia’s Arctic shelf, where currently only state-held firms Rosneft and Gazprom have the right to operate, Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin told news agency TASS in an interview published […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There is no ice left on Northern Sea Route; But the number of ships that set course for the Arctic route still remains low” – Barents Observer (Norway)/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“The Arctic shortcut … connect[ing] Asia and Europe is open and ice-free … [S]hipping appears smooth … [even] for vessels without ice class standards. The last pieces of … [ice] vanished in mid-August … [T]he whole route now is free of ice. … includ[ing] the East Siberian Sea, … normally … [with] the longest-lasting white sheet. … August [to] October […]

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Dubbed The ‘Nuclear Titanic,’ Russia’s First Floating Atomic Power Plant Sets Sail Amid Environmental Fears

Montage of Radioactivity Symbol and Russian Map with Russian Flag, adapted from images at .gov sites

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 23, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-floating-nuclear-plant-lomonosov-sets-sail-arctic/30125553.html) Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, which Greenpeace has dubbed a “floating Chernobyl,” has set sail on a nearly 5,000-kilometer voyage to its destination in the nation’s northeast. The floating plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, departed the Arctic port […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Donald Trump says an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile accidentally blew up in Russia, and here’s why experts say he’s right” – Meduza/ Dmitry Kuznets, Kevin Rothrock (translation)

Montage of Radioactivity Symbol and Russian Map with Russian Flag, adapted from images at .gov sites

“… August 8, two soldiers and five staff from a nuclear research center in Sarov died in an explosion in the Arkhangelsk region while testing some of Russia’s latest ‘hardware.’ … monitors … recorded raised levels of background radiation … and part of the White Sea has been closed to shipping. The United States … announced openly … the accident […]

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Interview: ‘There’s An Incident Involving A Russian Submarine Every Five Or Six Years’ [Interview with Dmitry Gorenburg]

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Yury Zhigalkin – July 3, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/interview-incident-involving-a-russian-submarine-every-five-or-six-years/30034923.html) The Russian Defense Ministry announced on July 2 that a fire aboard a submarine operated by its main naval research-and-development unit the day before had killed 14 sailors. Although the military did not identify the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Blaze that affected sub broke out in battery area – expert” – Interfax

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

MOSCOW. July 3 (Interfax) – The fire on board a Russian Navy deep-sea submersible, in which 14 submariners died, broke out in the submarine’s battery tank, Konstantin Sivkov, a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, said on Wednesday. “It is now known for sure what caused this accident: the fire broke out in the submarine’s […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin] Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu” – KremlinRu

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – July 2, 2019) The Defence Minister reported to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief on the fire on the Northern Fleet deep-water research submersible in the Barents Sea, which killed 14 sailors. Vladimir Putin conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of the dead and gave instructions on providing them with assistance and support. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Military Posture in the Arctic; Managing Hard Power in a ‘Low Tension’ Environment” – Chatham House/ Mathieu Boulègue

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“… Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) primarily aims to ensure perimeter defence of the Kola Peninsula for the survivability of second-strike nuclear assets. Russia’s ‘Bastion’ defence concept consists of the projection of multi-layered sea denial and interdiction capabilities. Another Russian priority is … Northern Fleet[] access to … the Northern Sea Route (NSR) […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Sovcomflot Says Arctic Sailings Will Become Routine; CEO of the state-owned shipping giant says melting polar ice will draw more ship operators to Siberian waters” – Wall Street Journal/Costas Paris

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“‘The Northern Sea Route shipments are growing …’ [Russian state-owned shipping Sovcomflot] Chief Executive Sergey Frank said … ‘It’s a question of time before all kinds of ships routinely cross it.’ Arctic routes are drawing greater attention as the global climate warms and polar ice recedes, potentially opening new paths between Asia and Europe. The mostly frozen NSR seaway … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia closes Northern Sea Route for foreign warships” – Pravda.ru

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Pravda.ru – May 30, 2019) Russia has been actively strengthening its defense capability in the Arctic region lately. The gradual melting of Arctic ice makes the passage of foreign warships near Russia’s northern borders possible. In light of this, a set of rules was introduced for the passage of ships along the Northern Sea Route (NSR). All foreign countries must […]

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RUSSIALINK: “In Russia’s Arctic, Oil Majors and Reindeer Herders Are Coming Together; Sustainable development and cooperation are replacing encroachment on pastures.” – Moscow Times

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – NARYAN-MAR, May 15, 2019) Russia’s oil and gas giants are establishing a new model in the country’s Arctic based on sustainable development and cooperation with the region’s native reindeer herders. A decade ago, locals were struggling to sustain their traditional way of life due to the energy firms’ growing encroachment on their pasturelands. And as […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Inside the West’s Plans for Arctic War Against Russia” – DailyBeast/ Nico Hines

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Moscow is growing belligerent in its quest to pry open the icy route to the Atlantic. The U.S. and Britain are racing to catch up, but is it too late?” “… deep in the Arctic Circle, some of the world’s best-trained commandos … struggl[e] to complete an ambush exercise knee-deep in … snow. Britain’s Royal Marines make painfully slow progress […]

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As Russia Touts Expanded Arctic Sea Routes, U.S. Observers See Veiled Threat

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Voice of America – Danila Galperovich – WASHINGTON, April 15, 2019 – voanews.com/a/as-russia-touts-expanded-arctic-sea-routes-us-observers-see-veiled-threat/4875843.html) This story originated in VOA’s Russian Service. At this year’s International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russian leaders made the most peaceable statements to date about Moscow’s long-term plans for the a rapidly melting Arctic. Answering questions during the forum’s international plenary session, President Vladimir Putin extolled […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Military Drills in Arctic Aim to Counter Russia, but the First Mission Is to Battle the Cold” – New York Times/ Helene Cooper

Arctic Map

“… the melting polar ice cap has opened up the Arctic, disappearing what used to be an impenetrable barrier between North America and Russia. … NATO is rushing to try to catch up. … ‘Russia is increasing its military presence in the Arctic,’ said … a [NATO] spokesman … [NATO is] ‘monitoring Russia’s Arctic buildup carefully.’ In fact, Russia has […]

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Russia Seeks New Arctic Oil Frontier

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company … the largest oil producer in the country, plans to develop an Arctic cluster of oil fields over the next five years. These plans by Rosneft – led by a close [Putin] ally … Igor Sechin – fit [Putin’s] ambition to develop Arctic oil and gas resources and adjacent regions, as well as the so-called Northern Sea Route – a shipping lane through Russian Arctic waters … from Europe to the Far East. …

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Kicks Off Massive New Gas Field in Russia’s Arctic” – Moscow Times

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2019) President Vladimir Putin has kicked off the full-scale development of one of Russia’s largest proven gas fields in the Yamal peninsula, the Kremlin reported on Wednesday. The Kharasaveyskoye gas field is located in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, a key gas-producing region in an economy that heavily relies on gas exports. This month, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia strengthening presence in Arctic – Putin”- Interfax

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – The Arctic is important for Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The Arctic plays a strategic role for Russia. Today we are strengthening our presence in the region, we are implementing scientific research initiatives, large-scale programs for its economic development, we are implementing ambitious infrastructure projects,” Putin said in his message to the participants and […]

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NATO’s Trident Juncture Exercise as a Deterrence Signal to Russia

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 1, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/natos-trident-juncture-exercise-deterrence-signal-russia) Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism. This week, NATO […]

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Russian Infrastructure to Support Northern Sea Route Won’t Be Ready for at Least Another Decade, Experts Say

Arctic Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 12, 2018) The Washington Post reported four days ago that global warming is opening the Northern Sea Route to more shipping sooner than expected, but officials and experts in the North say that Russia won’t have the necessary infrastructure in place to support trade on that route for at least another […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin invites foreign partners to develop Northern Sea Route” – Interfax

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited foreign partners to develop the Northern Sea Route. “We are inviting all interested partners to develop this promising route, and we know that our partners are interested in doing so,” Putin said at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum on Wednesday. The logistic potential of the Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Is Building $320 Million Icebreakers to Carve New Arctic Routes; The 1,000-foot-long vessels for hauling liquefied natural gas can cut through ice up to 7 feet thick” – Bloomberg/Eric Roston

Arctic Map

“… there’s no less hospitable an industrial workplace than Yamal LNG, a $27 billion liquid natural gas plant … in Russian territory 375 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In the winter, when there’s zero sun for more than two months, temperatures reach -13F on land and -58F in the blinding fog out at sea. … [T]here’s a lot of […]

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