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Sunday, 14 April 2013 10:13

Arctic era

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In 2012, Russia is going to submit a request to the UN to expand the limits of its continental shelf of the Arctic in order to attach to its exclusive economic zone of 200 miles length is 1.2 km2, presumably rich fossil hydrocarbons. The basis for this claim are two underwater ridge (the ridge Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridge). This statement may result in the presentation of human responses to the territory from Canada and Denmark.


In 2007 Artur Chilingarov, a Russian polar explorer, took part in an expedition to the North Pole, called "Arctic 2007". Chilingarov - notorious figure in Russia: this polar researcher was elected to the Duma Nenets Autonomous District of the Far North of the party "United Russia". In addition, he is a special representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic. The above mentioned expedition could not be more clearly confirmed Russia's territorial claims in the region. When he reached the North Pole on a nuclear icebreaker, Artur Chilingarov and five other Russian researchers to dive in the submersible to a depth of 4200 meters and installed on the bottom of titanium capsule with the Russian flag inside. Immediately after the operation, Arthur Chilingarov said: "The Arctic - Russian land. We are pleased to establish a Russian flag on the ocean floor, I had not seen even a single person. I do not care that there will tell abroad. If someone does not like something, let them try themselves to descend to the ocean floor and left there something of my own. " British media for the courage and technical complexity compared to the expedition with the first steps on the moon in 1969.

But the Russian expedition was not only a demonstration of technological advances - she showed that this region of the Russian authorities are paying attention, and was the reason for the start of difficult negotiations between the Arctic states. Despite the fact that the Arctic population of just 1.5% of the Russian population, the share of the region's GDP is 11%, and exports 22% of the overall performance of the country. Besides, the state is going to invest more than 310 billion dollars in development projects in the continental shelf until 2039.

Despite the fact that the Russian state their intention to make the Arctic territory of dialogue and precludes the possibility of conflict in the region, the powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently said that "security and geopolitical interests of Russia are related to the Arctic." According to some experts, the importance of the Far North in the next century will increase so much that will also change the geo-political course of the country, which is of Eurasian power could power the Arctic. Due to global warming, states are interested, first, in the new sea lines of communication passing through the northern zone, and secondly, and mainly in the mining and oil that lies at the bottom of the ocean.

Under the Arctic means the area around the North Pole: Greenland (an autonomous unit of Denmark) and parts of the Arctic countries - Canada, Russia, the United States (Alaska), Norway and the entire Arctic Ocean. The region is 8% of the world's surface, but the percentage of the population is negligible. Note that 75% of the inhabitants of the Arctic - the Russians. After the Cold War, the Arctic powers (Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, USA) was established three organizations for regional cooperation:
1.
Council of Baltic Sea States (founded in 1992), includes countries surrounding the Baltic Sea and promotes cooperation Arctic states.

2.
Barents / Euro-Arctic Council (founded in 1993) is intended to facilitate contact among people who live near the Barents Sea, as well as contribute to the economic development of the region. In the Barents / Euro-Arctic region includes the foreign ministers of the six member countries of the European Commission, France has observer status.

3.
The Arctic Council (established in 1996) consists of eight Arctic states, six indigenous peoples of the Arctic, as well as a large number of observer countries, including Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, the Netherlands and Poland.


In 1982, the Jamaican town of Montego Bay signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which entered into force in 1994. Some countries with unresolved issues with the neighboring archipelagos (Turkey and Venezuela) have not signed the convention, but all the countries of the Arctic region have signed and ratified it except the U.S. - the latter only signed but not ratified the document. This Convention specifies the status of various maritime zones, the notions of territorial waters, the territorial sea (12 nautical miles, that is 22 km from the coast), the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the 200 nautical miles (360 km), the straits to the free passage of ships and Finally, the concept of the continental shelf, over which, under certain circumstances, the state may exercise sovereign rights with respect to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources. According to this convention, the area of the seabed is declared "common heritage of mankind."

There is a committee whose purpose is to review the data provided by the littoral states of the continental shelf, the length of which is more than 200 nautical miles. The Commission may only issue warnings, but can not make decisions on contentious issues. To this end, the Commission established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Russia, Canada and Denmark have already submitted to the Commission the materials that the above countries want to confirm that some areas of the Arctic should be included in the exclusive economic zones of these countries.

This can cause many lawsuits about underwater sovereignty. In 2008, at a conference in Ilulissat, Greenland, the Arctic powers adopted a joint declaration on the rights of property, according to which the country's Arctic region can claim to portions of the continental shelf outside the country's exclusive economic zone (200 nautical miles from the coastline), if they can prove that the shelf is an extension of their territory. In 2012, Russia is going to submit a request to the UN to expand the limits of its continental shelf of the Arctic in order to attach to its exclusive economic zone of 200 miles length is 1.2 km2, presumably rich fossil hydrocarbons. The basis for this claim are two underwater ridge (the ridge Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridge). This statement may result in the presentation of human responses to the territory from Canada and Denmark.

If, during the Cold War, the Arctic was seen as the shortest way to attack the enemy, the climate changes occurring on our planet today (global warming and the melting of glaciers) again cause an increased interest in this region: new maritime trade routes between East and Asia - a short, cost-effective and safe (due to the absence of piracy). Indeed, since 1979, the area of Arctic sea ice has decreased by 20%, and by 2100, it should be reduced by 50%.

In the last century the fathers of modern functional geopolitics - Halford John Mackinder and Nicholas Spaykmen identified key concepts that help to understand the geopolitical events of our time. According to these experts on geopolitics, the world consists of "world island" or axial space of the world (Heartland), which includes Europe, Asia and Africa, "peripheral islands" (this is America, and Australia) and the rest of the world - "the world's oceans." Mackinder's theory, to have power over the whole world, it is necessary to control the Heartland - a zone stretching from central Europe to Western Siberia to the Mediterranean Sea, Middle East, Southeast Asia and China. Spaykmen believed that a key area is not in the center of the Eurasian continent, and on the periphery of the ring "shore lands," which he called "Rimland." According to Spaykmena, to play the role of a leading power on a global level, the United States must control the member states of the "Rimland."

In fact, Mackinder and Spaykmen adapted older theory to the realities of the XX century. Alfred Thayer Mehen has already shown that it is important for the U.S. to have a powerful navy to become a leading maritime power - which was America during the XX century. Much earlier, in the XVII century, the great English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh stated: "He who has the sea, the trades, and who are engaged in trade, he has wealth, and who has the world's wealth, he has the world itself." These Anglo-Saxon geopolitical doctrine aimed at achieving military and commercial power, help explain the profound conflict between the maritime powers (Britain, America) and the continental powers (Germany, Russia). According to Mackinder's theory, we must see the world through the prism of "polar" mapping, which allows to clearly define the center of the "world island": this is the area that includes modern-day Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus and Kazakhstan, as well as the coast of the North, the Caspian and Black Seas.

In the "world island" are the energy bands of the Eurasian continent and connecting their energy corridors, and coastal land, which provide access to the seas. For us, it is clear that the northern boundary of "axial space of the world" is the Russian Arctic along its entire length of the northern point of Norway to the Bering Strait. Taking into account the "polar" theory of Mackinder, the choice becomes clear strategic goals in the region, as well as the reasons for which, during the Cold War, the Arctic once was an occasion for a confrontation between the two great powers of the time - the U.S. and the Soviet Union. According to Jean-Claude Bezida1, at the time the Arctic has become "the geopolitical impact of the linear section of the two powers." And in 2011 this statement seems like a never-date.

Clifford Krauss, a journalist and a member of the research center "Council on Foreign Relations» (Council on Foreign Relations), believes that "the territorial claims occurring worldwide, but in the Arctic experts predict the largest number of conflicts" (New York Times, October 2005) .

If, during the Cold War, the Arctic was seen as the shortest way to attack the enemy, the climate changes occurring on our planet today (global warming and the melting of glaciers) again cause an increased interest in this region: new maritime trade routes between East and Asia - a short, cost-effective and safe (due to the absence of piracy). Indeed, since 1979, the area of Arctic sea ice has decreased by 20%, and by 2100, it should be reduced by 50% 2.

Noteworthy are the following two routes:
• The Northern Sea Route, which runs along the north of Russia, and, skirting the coast of Siberia, to exit from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The route length of 13,000 km. currently considered a "single most accessible by connecting Murmansk to Vladivostok and the natural deposits of the Russian Far North and Siberia among themselves."
• North-western route, which passes through the Canadian Arctic between the Arctic islands, connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Canadian government insists that the route passes through the internal waters of the country. U.S. and France, by contrast, argue that the sea route should have the status of international strait.

For comparison, the sea route Rotterdam - Tokyo versus Northeast Russian way longer than 14 100 km, and the Canadian North-West by - 15 900 km, it is longer than the Suez Canal on 21 100 km, and the Panama - 23 300 km . Obviously, the position of Russia and Canada are completely unacceptable for other states that want to maritime routes of the two Nordic countries are considered as international straits. In any case, the opening of new trade routes will make a body of water in the Arctic a strategically important artery linking the Western world and Asia.

Of course, the Cold War is long over, and the immediate risk of a military conflict there. But in 1999, after coming to power of Vladimir Putin, Russia has started the process of updating, and it caused some changes in the relations of countries located in the northern hemisphere. Now Russia is able to stand firm for its opinion on the international scene. As for the Arctic, that at the moment, this area is attractive not only new sea routes. The region is rich in natural resources located in the depths of the ocean.

It is assumed that even a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves are in the Arctic. In 2010, the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of nauk3 estimates that the Arctic reserves should reach about 90 billion tons of oil and 250,000 billion cubic meters of gas. For comparison - in the Pacific Ocean 10 billion tons of oil and 25,000 billion cubic meters of gas in the Atlantic 35 billion tons of oil and 65,000 cubic meters of gas, and the Indian 40 billion tons of oil and 70,000 billion cubic meters of gas. The Arctic is also rich in various minerals (nickel, iron, phosphates, copper, cobalt, coal, gold, tin, tungsten, uranium, and silver). Finally, the region has the largest reserve of fresh water on the planet (Grenlandiya4).

In recent years, the real militarization of the Arctic is in full swing. Indeed, the five countries have territorial claims in the region is the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway. All countries, except Russia, are members of NATO. To conflict joined the UK, Finland and Sweden. During the Cold War, the U.S. government has already set up a network of air bases, which were later upgraded and have become an integral part of a network of radar stations included in the missile defense system. Now Canada and the United States cooperate to ensure proper monitoring and control of the airspace in the northern part of the Joint Command of the aerospace defense of North America (NORAD5).

Among other things, Canada periodically repeats intention to assert its sovereignty over much of the continental shelf and the Arctic to ensure effective control of the size of the territory by strengthening its military prisutstviya6. Large-scale military exercises in NATO is held every year, and every year they span all significant. An example of this - the doctrine called Nanook7. The number of countries participating in this joint NATO exercises is growing every year. In 2011, for example, they are attended by one hundred foreign soldiers and eleven hundred Canadian voennosluzhaschih8. "North - this is our territory. We want to show our international partners that are present in the region, this is our goal, "- admitted Captain 3rd rank Luc Tremblay in an interview with Radio-Canada immediately after operatsii9. The government has recently decided to increase the number of personnel of their Arctic brigades.

Analysts of one of reputable research institutes ZapadaNorth Instituteesche in 2008 predicted the risk of a continental alliance between Russia and China, who may want to take control over the northern natural resources through the creation of the Eurasian energy corridor. Such concern demonstrates adherence to the doctrines of the fathers of American Scientists Anglo-Saxon geopolitics, obsessive compulsive fear of dismissal from American control of the territory in the Arctic, and from the role of world leader.

While Canadian and Danish scientists are trying to prove the continuation of which is the famous Lomonosov Ridge - Canadian Ellesmere Island or Danish Greenland, Russia also claims to sovereignty over an underwater ridge above. In 2008, high-ranking Russian military has said that Russia, if necessary, must be ready for war in the Arctic. Head of the Main Directorate of Combat Training, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov said, "because other countries dispute the Russian Arctic interests, we review the military training in connection with the possible threat of military conflict in the region." Russia has also changed the program of militarization of its northern regions. Back in 2010, the government had no plans to deploy troops in the Arctic, but the Interior Ministry recently decided to establish two Arctic brigades to protect Russia's national interests in the region.

What awaits the Arctic?

As can be seen from the documents of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), mining in the underwater part of the Russian Arctic is a priority treteyi least, beyond which is the transition to a "secondary oil recovery method" (the artificial maintenance of the energy reservoir or an artificial change in physical and chemical properties of oil. Despite the fact that mining in the Arctic is technically very complex, melting glaciers gradually facilitates access to the fields. Analysts one of the reputable research institutions of the West North Institute in 2008 predicted the risk of a continental alliance between Russia China, which may want to take control over the northern natural resources through the creation of the Eurasian energy corridor. Such concern demonstrates adherence to the doctrines of the fathers of American Scientists Anglo-Saxon geopolitics, obsessive compulsive fear of dismissal from American control of the territory in the Arctic, and from the role of world leader.

In addition to the United States border to the Arctic via Alaska, more distant countries (China and Iran) also recently announced its claims to the Arctic. Trade routes of the future harvesting of natural resources - the Arctic will undoubtedly be the subject of difficult negotiations and disputes between states. In France, there are many reasons to participate in the internal affairs of the region, both through the European Union, as well as directly through bilateral diplomatic relations with Russia. Russia is a key country to maintain a balance in the region and contribute to its development. French Ambassador for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, Michel Rocard recently recalled the following: "While we should respect the sovereign rights of Canada's northern region, the country may not be able to provide sufficient funding for infrastructure required for the development of the Arctic trade routes." According to this former French minister, "eastern route along the Siberian coast (...) is more direct and secure, though a bit longer. Russia - "Arctic power", which has at its disposal a large number of icebreakers, including four new nuclear icebreaker ... Also, Russia has much more advantages in terms of ports: the Canadian port of Resolute Bay, home to a total of about 280 people in the town of Iqaluit - about six thousand inhabitants, and the population of the Russian port city of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk are, respectively, about 300 and 350 thousand people " .

At the time, both in the Middle East continues period of instability, the consequences of which no one has been taken to assess the Arctic increasingly seems appropriate subject for negotiations between the North and Russia increasingly clear is the most viable alternative to EU energy supply and France, whose energy needs by the mid-century, 70% will be met by imports. According to the forecast, which did 20 years ago, the director of the Institute of Arctic Studies and the Institute of international monitoring of the environment, the American Professor Oran Young, XXI century could be the beginning of the era of the Arctic.




1 Besida Jean-Claude, "Geopolitique de l'Arctique", memoire presente sous la direction de Mr Yves Lacoste.

2 http://nasa.gov/vision/earth/environement/ice_sheets

3 http://fr.rian.ru/science/20100610/186878150.html

4 Godard Alain et Andre Marie-Francoise, Les milieux polaires: Armand Colin, 1999.

5 http://norad.mil

6 http://mondialisation.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20943

7 http://canadacom.forces.gc.ca/daily/archive-nanook11-fra.asp

8 http://canadacom.forces.gc.ca/docs/pdf/BG-11-001-nanook-fra.pdf



Alexander Lutz



Source: http://win.ru/geopolitika/1318192471

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