Ensuring Russia's National Security in the Arctic


N.I. SIDNYAYEV, Doctor of Technical Sciences

Abstract. This paper covers issues of Russia's national security in the Arctic as viewed from the military perspective. It examines the trends in the development of a reliable defense system for this country. It postulates the importance of greater defense capacity in the Russian Arctic, as NATO relentlessly builds up its military forces next to Russian borders, and the US military infrastructure continues to develop.

Keywords: the Arctic, region, security, infrastructure, sea, transport, hydrocarbons, military potential, strategy, partnership.

The Arctic is part of Russia's territory that incorporates the Polar Basin and the Arctic Belt including the outskirts of the continent and the adjoining shelf with continental islands.1 The continental dry land segment of Russia's Arctic Zone (RAZ) totals 4.9 million km2. Islands take up 0.2 million km2. The RAZ shelf and inland seas approximate 4 million km2. The regions of the Russian Arctic are an area of transportation and economic influence of the North Sea Lane (NSL) pushed inland, for several hundred kilometers as a rule, depending on the configuration of the river network and other communication routes connected with the existing and potential NSL freight flows.2

Most populated localities in the RAZ are on the shores of Arctic seas or in their immediate vicinity, and also in the lower reaches of the rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean. A faulty work of sea transport, and of the Arctic transportation system as such, delays in fuel, food, and other supplies to the Arctic owing to a short navigation season can be socially and economically disastrous and so jeopardize people's existence in the region.3

The RAZ dry land area takes up 29 percent of the RF territory. The RAZ regions have a lot of features in common, including an inclement climate, low population density, remoteness from economic and cultural centers, an underdeveloped transportation network, a raw materials economic bias, ...

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