The following is Part Five of a five part series on the Russian efforts to stake a strategic claim on the Arctic region.
Further proof that the Arctic was emerging as an area of economic and military competition appeared just days ago. On July 5, the Russian atomic icebreaker Rossiia and the research vessel, Akademik Fedorov, sailed from Murmansk to undertake a second year of seismic prospecting to establish Russia’s claim to the Lomonosov and Medvedev Ridges (“Arctic shelf prospecting in view of global warming,” The Voice of Russia, 21 July 2011). On July 11, the giant Russian mineral and chemical company EuroChem announced that two bulk ore carriers, the Mikhail Kutuzov and Dmitri Pozharskii, were leaving Murmansk under the escort of a Russian atomic icebreaker, and would sail the Northern Sea Route to deliver 40,000 tons of iron ore concentrate to the North China port of Xingang with an estimated sailing time of 25-28 days.
The following is Part Four of a five part series on the Russian efforts to stake a strategic claim on the Arctic region.
Russian MOD Moves to Create Two “New Look” Brigades for the Arctic
In late May, Colonel-General Aleksandr Postnikov, Commander of Ground Forces, left Moscow for a three-day trip to northwest Russia with visits to St. Petersburg and Murmansk. During the trip, Iurii Gavrilov reported that the chief task would be resolving questions connected with the formation in the north of Russia of the so-called “Arctic brigades.” Gavrilov noted that in the past, when Russian media mentioned the formation of Arctic units, they were met by denials. “Why the military up to now had sought to conceal its interest in this time one can only speculate.”
The following is Part Three of a five part series on the Russian efforts to stake a strategic claim on the Arctic region.
In December 2008, Morskoi sbornik carried an article by A. Smolovskii, which addressed the military aspects of the Russian Arctic policy in terms of securing control of the Lomonosov Ridge and its anticipated energy resources. Russian efforts to strengthen its defenses were depicted as a direct result of the “militarization of the Arctic by the West.” Smolovskii identified two major features in this militarization: the extended present of Western military forces in the region in the form of 1) US and British nuclear submarine patrols, flights of US and Canadian shore-based aviation and patrols by US Coast Guard, and the sea defense forces of Denmark, Norway and Canada, and 2) increased monitoring of the region by aero-space, surface, and particularly subsurface means supported by the conduct of naval exercises in the direct vicinity of Russian territory (A Smolovskii, “Poslednie voenno-politicheskie sobytiia v Arktike,” Morskoi sbornik, December 2008).
The following is Part One of a five part series on the Russian efforts to stake a strategic claim on the Arctic region.
In early July, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdiukov announced the creation of two brigades for the defense of Russia’s Arctic region.
He went on to state that the General Staff was working out their place of deployment, numerical strength, armament and supporting infrastructure. In this process, Russian specialists had taken into account foreign experience with Arctic forces, including Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian. The report speculated that the brigades would be stationed in Murmansk or Archangelsk (Murmanskii vestnik, July 5). This announcement comes as no surprise after four years of Russian claims to expanded interests in the Arctic, especially the development of energy resources. Vladimir Putin had urged development of the Russian Arctic and promoted Russia’s extended territorial claims while President.
In late June 2007, the Shipbuilding giant Sevmash, located in Arkhangelsk Oblast’, was looking for a partnership with Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil, along with foreign investors, to create a new infrastructure to exploit the gas and oil deposits.
Forces loyal to Libya’s new rulers surged into the desert town of Bani Walid on Friday in a fierce attack on one of the last strongholds still in the hands of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists that could prove a major turning point in the war.
Explosions and gunfire echoed over the hills surrounding the town, which has been under siege for two weeks, with hundreds of die-hard supporters of the country’s fugitive former ruler concentrated around its centre.