Roundtable "Results of Russia's Chairmanship in the Arctic Council and the Future of Cooperation in the Region

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On May 15, 2023 Nikita Belukhin, Junior Research Fellow of the Department for European Policy Studies of IMEMO participated in the Roundtable "Results of Russia's Chairmanship in the Arctic Council and the Future of Cooperation in the Region" in the press center of MIA "Russia Today". The discussion was dedicated to the prospects of cooperation in the Arctic Council after Norway takes over the chairmanship of the organization on May 11, 2023.

In his speech, Nikita Belukhin emphasized that the main beneficiaries of the current situation are the non-Arctic states, which get the opportunity to maneuver and balance between different parties in the absence of consensus among the Arctic Eight. Maintaining unity among Arctic Council members, however, could allow non-Arctic states to be attracted to the region on the terms of the Arctic powers and represent a unified position in relations with such a difficult partner as China, which claims to expand its role in Arctic governance. The main losers are the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, as their opinion on the actual suspension of the work of the Arctic Council was not taken into account at all. At the same time, cross-border communication and cooperation among indigenous peoples has been seriously affected by the measures taken by the seven Western members of the Arctic Council. Notably, one member of the Saami Parliament of Norway recently praised the innovating decision of Russia, as the Arctic Council chair for 2021-2023, to appoint a Special Representative for Indigenous  Affairs for the first time, and called on the Norwegian government to follow Russia's example. Nikita Belukhin also noted that in the countries of Northern Europe there are still sentiments in favor of pragmatic cooperation with Russia, which, however, have not yet led to concrete steps to restore cooperation. For example, in March 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen argued that there is no alternative to the Arctic Council.

The event was also attended by: 
  • Nikolay Korchunov, Ambassador at Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Russia's Senior Arctic Council Official;
  • Alexander Vylegzhanin, Head of the International Law Department at MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, RIAC member.

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