A Trend Setting Forum, Key Policy Highlights for the Far East, and the Growing Role of the NSR

Photo: Fortunato Gatto/GeoPhoto.ru

A Trend Setting Forum, Key Policy Highlights for the Far East, and the Growing Role of the NSR

Today, we take a look at this week’s top stories regarding the Russian Arctic.

The Eastern Economic Forum: a trend setting event for the Russian Arctic and Far East

The 6th Eastern Economic Forum -- one of Russia’s major platforms for addressing the Far Eastern and Arctic agendas -- is being held in the city of Vladivostok. Currently, Russia’s strategy prioritizes major projects, stimulating population growth and improving the quality of life in the region. The country’s decision-makers believe that it is time to switch from short-term policies to pursuing more ambitious long-term goals and objectives in the Far East and Arctic.

Arctic hydrocarbons are an important asset of Russia -- and a means of securing the country’s future as a global player. According to estimates, Arctic oil and gas reserves are enough to fuel the growth of the Russian economy for centuries. However, gaining access to the Arctic riches requires systemic efforts and major capital investments into exploration, developing new technologies and building infrastructure -- as well as, as President Putin defined it, a new sense of responsibility. This, in turn, makes the introduction of new benefits and preferences along with other instruments of support all the more important. Both the government and the Russian corporate community see safeguarding the Arctic environment and securing sustainable development as a top priority, which puts a strong emphasis on research projects and environmental initiatives implemented in the High North. Read more…

Policy objectives for the Russian Arctic and Far East

Alexey Chekunkov, Russia’s Arctic and Far Eastern Minister, shared his views of the key aspects of Russia’s policy in the High North. The depopulation trend typical for Russia’s Far Eastern regions can be reversed, with newly established preferential areas playing a major role in attracting labor migration from the rest of Russia through creating vacant jobs and stimulating a steady growth of average salaries, he believes. As per estimates, nearly 2 million people may relocate to the regions concerned within the coming one and a half decades, if sufficient investment into infrastructure and housing is made.

The Ministry has been tasked with increasing the growth rate of the Far Eastern economy to 8% per year. It is estimated that this objective can be met in 3 to 4 years from now, mainly through attracting investment and supporting new projects. Among such projects are major initiatives in the field of renewables and climate economy that can be launched in the Russian Far East and Arctic as part of a free environmental zone to be established there. Read more…

The NSR: a development driver

Logistics is key to sustainable development in the Russian Arctic. This is why improving the way the Northern Sea Route functions is a top priority for both Russia’s authorities and big business. According to the Arctic and Far Eastern Ministry, there is a possibility that some 80 billion metric tons of cargo per year will be transported through the NSR by 2024. To this end, several major Arctic hydrocarbon projects must become operational. Being an export route is not the only role the NSR is expected to play. The Ministry and Rosatom are working together to launch a regular container line connecting the Russian Far East with European Russia.

To meet the ambitious objectives envisioned by the Government, it is crucial that the NSR becomes open to navigation all year round -- a task yet to be accomplished. This can be achieved with the new nuclear-powered icebreakers and other ice-class vessels entering service in the near future. Launching a transit route on the NSR will help improve the stability of supply to Russia as well as its partner countries in Southeast Asia. Read more…
Alexander Stotskiy
3 September 2021
Arctic Weekly