At a major conference on the economic development of the Arctic, Russian experts and politicians outlined the practical steps that need to happen for Russia to realize its energy, infrastructure and geopolitical ambitions for the region.
Notwithstanding geopolitical tensions, the difficult economic situation in Russia and falling oil prices, the Kremlin has continued its efforts to develop the vast natural resources of its Arctic territories. The latest example is Russia’s unveiling of its new nuclear icebreaker Arktika, which was reportedly completed on June 27. A nuclear-powered vessel capable of traversing the icy Northern territories could open up new opportunities for Russia to access the oil and gas deposits of the Arctic.
According to Marina Kovtun, governor of Russia’s Murmansk Region, the authorities allocated 41.5 billion rubles (approximately $634 million) to build new infrastructure in Russia’s Northern regions. “3 billion rubles [$45.8 million] worth of works has been completed as of today. The plan for 2016 is 4.4 billion [$67.2 million],” she said during the Conference on the Economic Development of the Arctic that took place in St. Petersburg on June 18.