The IMEMO Arctic Research (Part II)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-6-103-113

P. Gudev (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 


The problems connected with the World Ocean space and ocean resources development, including the Arctic region, have always been at priority level amongst the IMEMO research. The article shows which subjects related to the Arctic region were most demanded at the Institute, and why different forecasts of previous years have not lost their importance and relevance up to the present time. The second part of the research covers problems connected with the resource potential of the Arctic and the need for international cooperation in this field; the Northern Sea Route development, including the safety of navigation problem; the influence of the Svalbard archipelago factor on the Soviet/Russian-Norwegian relations, as well as that of the Wrangel Island – on Soviet-American relations. There are strong evidences that Norway, despite the norm and provisions of the 1920 Paris Treaty, tries to limit different kinds of maritime activities at Svalbard and in waters around it. Its position, as pointed out in IMEMO research, is based on the priority level of UNCLOS implementation to the archipelago. However, at the expert level, there is an absolutely common understanding that all new limitations have to be introduced only through a new international Conference involving all members of the 1920 Treaty. The U.S. had previously set up a claim to some Chukchi Sea islands, including the Wrangel Island. The 1990 USSR–USA Agreement on delimitation in the Bering Strait stopped these claims. Despite some attempts by Alaska’s policymakers to break these arrangements, the U. S. State Department position is ultimately opposite. So, as the IMEMO specialists underlined, this 1990 Deal, with all its negative aspects, is partly in favor of the Russian Federation and should be ratified by Moscow. The IMEMO research discovered huge economic and resource potential of the Arctic Region. However, this potential cannot be put into service without new forms of international cooperation and coordination elaboration. All Arctic States, especially Russia and the United States, should cooperate in the region where they have common interests. This approach was fully supported in IMEMO forecasts. In a similar way, the Northern Sea Route development could not be successive, as pointed out in the Institute’s paper, without construction of a new infrastructure (including port, search and rescue centers), where foreign countries’ investments would have to play an important role. The project of more restrictive measures in regard to the polar navigation, eventually taken as a basis of the so called Polar Code, was suggested by Soviet experts 40 year before its entering into the force. Finally, all these forecasts given and measures proposed by the IMEMO researchers as far back as in Soviet times have not lost their importance until now, thus the modern Russian Arctic policy should take them into account as a mainstay of knowledge upon which new approaches for the Arctic should be based. 


Arctic, Arctic Ocean, the UN Law of the Sea Convention, Northern Sea Route, Svalbard archipelago, Wrangel Island, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, maritime delimitation 


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For citation:
Gudev P. The IMEMO Arctic Research (Part II). Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, No 6, pp. 103-113.

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