International Cooperation in the Arctic

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-7-104-112

A. Zagorskii, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (


The article summarizes the findings of contemporary studies of international cooperation and conflict in the dynamically changing maritime Arctic, currently conducted in the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences. This research concentrates on but is not limited to such areas as Arctic Governance, agenda and major areas of international cooperation, conventional and unconventional security issues, policies by Arctic and non-Arctic states interested. The article argues that, notwithstanding the actual international crisis, the Arctic landscape is characterized by high level of legal certainty and low potential for interstate conflicts. This is mainly due to the clear definition of the sovereignty and sovereign rights limits of coastal states in the Law of the Sea, the largely completed delimitation of maritime boundaries, as well as the consensus to orderly settle all eventual disputes on the basis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, Arctic states assess conventional military threats in the region as low. At the same time, they register an increase in non-military risks generated by climate change and growing economic activities, pay particular attention to environmental and human security, as well as maritime safety. Member states of the Arctic Council have embarked on the road of expanding cooperation in order to address those challenges more effectively. Despite the current low in relations between Russia and the West, and the suspension of many cooperative projects in the energy or security sectors, cooperation continues as demonstrated, inter alia, by adoption of the Polar Code, the Oslo Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean, as well as by continued work of the Arctic Council. Although the likely effect of the present day crisis bears the danger of losing many opportunities for intensified cooperation and for overcoming the fragmentation of the Arctic security space, it is unlikely to lead to a new arms race.


Arctic, Russia, maritime boundaries, continental shelf, security, cooperation 


1. Arctic: Russia’s Interests and International Conditions for their Realizaiton. Moscow, Nauka, 2002. 356 p. (In Russ.)

2. Korzun V.A. Interesy Rossii v Mirovom Okeane v novyh geopoliticheskih usloviyah [Russia’s Interests in the Global Ocean in New Geopolitical Conditions]. Moscow, Nauka, 2005. 522 p.

3. Korzun V.A., Mirovitskaya N.S. Bioresursy mirovogo okeana. Mezhdunarodnye aspekty [Biological Resources of the Global Ocean. International Aspects]. Moscow, Nauka, 1991. 297 p.

4. Arctic Governance in an Era of Transformative Change: Critical Questions, Governance Principles, Ways Forward. 2010 (In Russ.) Available at: en.html (accessed 13.07.2015).

5. Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI) (In Russ.). Available at: (accessed 28.08.2015).

6. Zagorskii A.V., ed. Arktika: prostranstvo sotrudnichestva i obshchei bezopasnosti [The Arctic: A Space of Cooperation and Common Security]. Moscow, IMEMO RAN, 2010. 41 p.

7. Zagorskii A.V., ed. Arktika: zona mira i sotrudnichestva [The Arctic: A Space of Peace and Cooperation]. Moscow, IMEMO RAN, 2011. 195 p.

8. Dynkin A.A., Ivanova N.I., eds. Rossiya v politsentrichnom mire [Russia in a Polycentric World]. Moscow, Ves’ Mir, 2012. 580 p.

9. Zagorskii A.V., Glubokov A.I., Khmeleva E.N., eds. Mezhdunarodnoe sotrudnichestvo v Arktike. Doklad 2013. (RSMD) [International Cooperation in the Arctic. 2013 Report. (RIAC)]. Moscow, Spetskniga, 2013. 44 p.

10. Zagorskii A.V. et al. Arktika. Predlozheniya k dorozhnoi karte mezhdunarodnogo sotrudnichestva. (RSMD) [The Arctic: Proposals for the International Cooperation Roadmap. (RIAC)]. Moscow, Spetskniga, 2012. 40 p.

11. Zagorskii A.V. Voennaya bezopasnost’ v Arktike [Military Security in the Arctic]. Arkticheskii region. Problemy mezhdunarodnogo sotrudnichestva. Hrestomatiya v 3 tomah [The Arctic Region. Problems of International Cooperation. A Compendium in 3 Volumes]. Ivanov I.S., ed. RIAC. Vol. 1. Moscow, Aspekt Press, 2013, pp. 256-269.

12. Gudev P. Prioritety USA v Arktike [U.S. Priorities in the Arctic]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2013, no. 9, pp. 49-60.

13. Zagorskii A. Mezhdunarodnopoliticheskie usloviya razvitiya Arkticheskoi Zony Rossiiskoi Federatsii [International Political Environment for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation]. Programma Prezidiuma RAN “Poiskovye fundamental'nye nauchnye issledovaniya v interesakh razvitiya Articheskoi zony Rossiiskoi Federatsii”. Publikatsii po itogam 2014 [Program of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences “Pilot Fundamental Scientific Research in the Interest of the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation” 2014 Findings Publiction] Available at: (accessed 13.07.2015).

14. Dynkin A.A. Mezhdunarodnoe sotrudnichestvo v Arktike: riski I vozmozhnosti [International Cooperation in the Arctic: Risks and Opportunities]. Vestnik Rossiiskoi kademii nauk, 2015, vol. 85, no. 5-6, pp. 404-441.

15. The Ilulissat Declaration. Arctic Ocean Conference. Ilulissat, Greenland, 27-29 May 2008 (In Russ.) Available at:!OpenDocument (accessed 11.06.2011).

16. Young O.R., Kim J.D., Kim Y.H., eds. The Arctic in World Affairs. A North Pacific Dialogue on International Cooperation in a Changing Arctic. Seoul, Honolulu, KMI, EWC, 2014. 444 p.

17. Tang G. Arctic Issues and China’s Stance. China International Studies, 2013, vol. 38, Jan/Feb, pp. 29-48. Available at: (accessed 09.01.2015).

18. Sakhuja V. India and the Arctic: Beyond Kiruna. Indian Council of World Affairs. Policy Brief, 20 January 2014. Available at: (accessed 09.01.2015).

19. Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Maritime Boundary (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 03.09.2015).

20. Treaty between the Kingdom of Norway and the Russian Federation oncerning Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean (In Russ.) Available at:; (accessed 03.09.2015).

21. Vylegzhanin A.N. K utochneniyu pravovogo polozheniya dna Severnogo Ledovitogo okeana [On a More Precise Definition of the Legal Status of the Seabed of the Arctic Ocean]. Morskie prostranstva Arktiki: sovremennyi pravovoi aspect [Maritime Areas of the Arctic: Contemporary Legal Aspect]. Moscow, Magistral’, 2013, pp. 96-125.

22. Wu K. Chinese perspective. The Arctic in World Affairs. A North Pacific Dialogue on the Future of the Arctic. Young O.R., Kim J.D., Kim Y.H., eds. Seoul, Honolulu, KMI, EWC, 2013, pp. 190-198.

23. Statement and Responses to Media Questions by Foreign Minister S.V. Lavrov at Press- Conference After Negotiations with Foreign Minister of Iceland Ö. Skarphéðinsson, Moscow, 29 November 2011 (In Russ.) Available at:!OpenDocument (accessed 16.07.2015).

24. National Strategy for the Arctic Region. Washington, 2013. 11 .; National Security Presidential Directive and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, January 9, 2009. Available at: (accessed 06.06.2015).

25. United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, 1982 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 24.03.2015).

26. Lavyorov N., Lobkovskii L., Kononov M. et al. Bazovaya model' tektonicheskogo razvitiya Arktiki kak osnova dlya podgotovki obnovlennoi zayavki Rossii v Komissiyu OON na ustanovlenie granitsy kontinental'nogo shel'fa [Basic Model of Tectonic Development of the Arctic as a Basis for Preparation of the Updated Submission of Russia to the UN Commission Concerning the Establishment of Outer the Limits of Continental Shelf]. Arktika: ekoogiya i ekonomika, 2012, no. 2 (6), pp. 4-19.

27. Partial Revised Submission of the Russian Federation to the Commission non the Limits of the Continental Shelf in Respect of the Continental Shelf of the Russian Federation in the Arctic Ocean. Executive Summary. 2015. 36 p. (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 06.06.2015).

28. Lobkovskii L. Rossiiskaya zayavka na ustanovlenie vneshnikh granits kontinental'nogo shel'fa v Arktike poshla na vtoroi krug [Russian Submission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in the Arctic Went to the Second Round]. Arkticheskie vedomosti. Informatsionno-analiticheskii zhurnal, 2015, no. 3 (14), pp. 30-39.

29. Summary of the Recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in Regard to the Submission made by Norway in Respect of Areas in the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea on 27 November 2006. Available at: (accessed 25.08.2015).

30. Partial Submission of the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark together with the Government of Greenland to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Northern Continental Shelf of Greenland. Executive Summary. 2014. Available at: (accessed 25.08.2015).

31. Weber M. Defining the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Across the Arctic Basin: The Russian Submission, States’ Rights, Boundary Delimitation and Arctic Regional Cooperation. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 2009, vol. 24, pp. 653-681.

32. Submissions, through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Commission of the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Pursuant to Article 76, Paragraph 8, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982. Updated on 3 August 2015. Available at (accessed 15.08.2015).

33. Danish Defence Agreement 2010–2014. Copenhagen, 24 June 2009. Available at: (accessed 04.09.2015).

34. Arctic Strategy. Washington, U.S. Department of Defense, November 2013. Available at: (accessed 04.09.2015).

35. The High North. Visions and Strategies (2011–2012). Report to the Storting (White Paper). Oslo, 2011. Available at: (accessed 08.10.2015).

36. Canada’s Northern Strategy. Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future. Ottawa, 2009. Available at: (accessed 08.10.2015).

37. Danish Defence Agreement 2013–2017. Copenhagen, 30 November 2012. 46 p. Available at: (accessed 04.09.2015).

38. Kingdom of Denmark. Strategy for the Arctic 2011–2020. Copenhagen, 2011. Available at: (accessed 04.09.2015).

39. MFA: There Is No Race For Resources between Arctic Countries. Vzglyad, 13.03.2013 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.09.2015).

40. United States Coast Guard. Arctic Strategy. Washington, May 2013. Available at: (accessed 04.09.2015).

41. Agreement of Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 10.08.2015).

42. Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 10.08.2015).

43. Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. Washington, 2014. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2015).

44. Strategy for the development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and the Provision of National Security for the Period Until 2020. 20 February 2013 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 01.09.2015).

45. Wezeman S.T. Military Capabilities in the Arctic. SIPRI Background Paper, March 2012. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2015).

46. Mière Ch. le, Mazo J. Arctic Opening: Insecurity and Opportunity. IISS. Abingdon, New York, Routledge, 2013. 180 p.

47. Khramchikhin A.A. Vliyanie ukrainskogo krizisa na voenno-politicheskuyu obstanovku v Arktike [The Influence of the Ukrainian risis on Military and Political Situation in the Arctic]. Severnyi morskoi put’: razvitie arkticheskikh kommunikatsii v global’noi ekonomike. Arktika–2015: VI Vserossiiskaya morskaya nauchno-prakticheskaya konferentsiya. Materialy konferentsii [The Northern Sea Route: Arctic Communications Development in Global Economy. Arctic–2015: VI All-Russian Maritime Applied Research Conference. Conference Proceedings]. Murmansk (Russia), May 13–14, 2015, pp. 96-98. Available at: (accessed 31.08.2015).

48. Barbin V. Rossiya nastroena na sotrudnichestvo v Arktike [Russia is Committed to Cooperaiton in the Arctic]. Arkticheskie vedomosti. Informatsionno-analiticheskii zhurnal, 2015, no. 3(14), pp. 12-15.

49. Declaration Concerning the Prevention of Unregulated High Seas Fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean. Oslo, 16 July 2015. Available at: (accessed 03.08.2015).

50. Zagorskii A. Shag nazad ili shag vpered? Ministerskaya vstrecha Arkticheskogo soveta v Ikaluite. 29.04.2015 [A Step Forwards, or a Step Backwards? Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Iqaluit (Canada)]. 29.04.2015. Available at: (accessed 30.04.2015). 

Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Zagorskii A. International Cooperation in the Arctic. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, No 7, pp. 104-112.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment

Current Issue
Submit an Article

Dear readers!
Please note that free access to full-text issues of the Journal is being opened at our WEB-site after 6 months of the date of publications. Currently, the releases of 2015–2018 are available for free. The work on deepening the open archive of full-text issues will be continued.

Dear readers!
This is to inform the researchers of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations that electronic version of the 4-nd issue of 2019 of French magazine Politique étrangère is now available. Those who are interested, please personally address to the editorial staff of MEMO Journal (room 18-17) with an electronic media (e-mailing is not possible because of technical reasons).


In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“The Common Spaces”. The XX century was marked by the process of active development of the so-called common spaces, namely the World ocean, outer space and the Internet which, due to various reasons, were previously perceived as peripheral for the mankind and were not used at all or less intensively. Since then, the degree of their development and usage is constantly increasing. Even though the prospects of obtaining material dividends from their use are often extremely remote, the level of competition there is steadily increasing, resulting in growing inter-state conflicts’ potential.

“Silk Road and prospects of Great Eurasia”. It is planned to publish materials concerning the Chinese project of Silk Road and its impact on the socio-economic development of various countries in Eurasia and the integration processes in this mega-region.

“Africa today and tomorrow”The rubric devoted to contemporary issues of Africa which is attracting growing interest of the world's leading actors. We plan to publish the articles analyzing the status of statehood, socio-economic and political development of the countries of Black continent, as well as the integration processes between them.

“Civilization processes of modern development” is a new rubric opened by MEMO Journal in 2020. It will be devoted to the analysis of the influence of civilizational factors and inter-civilizational interactions on the political and socio-economic development of the world at whole, regions and countries.

Dear colleagues, authors and readers!

We kindly request you to turn to editor-in-chief and executive secretary directly concerning reviewing scientific publications in our journal. Only editor-in-chief takes decision on order and publication the reviews!


"World Eonomy and International Relations" announces a contest for the best joint academic publications of domestic and foreign researchers and experts in topical issues of the world economy and international relations. The winners will be selected according to the results of peer reviewing and discussion at the Editorial Board. The articles will be published in priority order.


The print version of “World Economy and International Relations” journal is distributed by advance subscription only, and is not offered for retail sale. To subscribe please address to any post office in Russia by referring to the Federal Postal Service Union Catalogue, section “ARSMI”, the journal index is 70542. The subscription may be made for the whole subscription period or starting from any nearest available month for desired number of issues.

To purchase the full-text electronic version of the journal’s issue/article please address to the WEB portal of Scientific electronic library or URL:

In journal
                     Articles by year
                     Authors by year
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 |

The author’s opinions may not coincide with the position of editorial