Cooperation Between Russia and US, Fighting Wildfires and Advancing Research as Key Themes of Circumpolar Dialog

Photo: Fortunato Gatto/

Cooperation Between Russia and US, Fighting Wildfires and Advancing Research as Key Themes of Circumpolar Dialog

As the 25th anniversary of the Arctic Council (AC) draws near, Nikolay Korchunov, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ambassador at large for Arctic cooperation and the senior Arctic official of the Russian Federation to the AC, gave an interview to the RIA news agency. Below are his comments on the key issues of circumpolar affairs.

The AC Ministers of Foreign Affairs will meet in 2023, presumably in St. Petersburg.

Holding an Arctic Summit is still an option on the table, and Russia can organize the event if other partner countries agree on this matter. While the idea has been already discussed for several years, it did not go far with the US Government being opposed to it under the previous administration. However, this may change: as US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan stated, the US is looking forward to working together with Russia and other partners in the AC.

Russia and the US are both interested in a stable and predictable Arctic and, ideally, see it as a region of meaningful cooperation and low tension. At present, there are differences in how they regard military and security issues in the High North; however, at some point, there will be a discussion on these issues, too.

The AC countries intend to work together to respond to the wildfire challenge in the Arctic through sharing technologies, expertise and best practices. Russia could come up with a mechanism of cooperation in this field provided that all partner countries accept the idea.

The construction of the Snowflake Station in the Russian Arctic is to kick off within the period of Russia’s chairmanship in the AC. Under this initiative, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District will host a research center, while the station to be deployed in Murmansk Oblast will focus rather on educating polar researchers. Numerous countries have already shown their interest in joining the Snowflake program; currently they expect Russia to provide them with a clear understanding of the research options and opportunities available.

A working group has been set up by the AC to organize an international expedition to the High Arctic mentioned by President Putin. The group is comprised of national research and science centers of the AC countries.
Alexander Stotskiy
20 September 2021
Arctic Today