Barbara Padrtova

The Arctic has been playing a central role in Russia’s identity and economic development. On the naval-strategic level, the most relevant for Moscow is maintaining of the credibility of nuclear deterrence, securing the open access of strategic submarines to world’s seas and in theoretical case of large-scale European war the Russian Navy´s strategic objective would be to interrupt the connection between Europe and North America (the latter was more eminent during the Cold War but still it is a part of Russian strategic thinking and objectives). Besides that, recent developments shows that the Arctic’s importance for Russia is not only growing but also widening and new sectors have been gradually added. Moscow’s strategic goal is to determinate Russia as preeminent Arctic nation eminently clear by political, economic, and military means to "defend" its interest. As part of its effort to create a comprehensive presence in the Arctic, Russia has been steadily expanding its military component there since 2007. However, these movements are primarily focused on protection of coastlines and offshore energy extraction installations, search-and-rescue operations and icebreaker capabilities, therefore should not be seen strictly as an militarization of the region. The occasional assertive statements by Russian representatives are more tailored for domestic audience rather than threatening factor to the other Arctic states. More substantive signals of Russian intent would be refusal to recognize the decisions or authority of international organizations in the Arctic, or its withdrawal from such organizations. In observing Russian activities in the Arctic, it is important to analyze the relevance of these statements to map it in those framework and wider context. The aim of proposed paper is to focus on the relevance and substance of above mentioned developments.

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