Gao Tianming & Vasilii Erokhin

In recent years, a growing number of investment projects in the Arctic zone of Russia have been contributed to by China’s capital and technologies, but the industrial development of the Russian Arctic remains extremely fragmented. The focal location of productive forces and population hampers integration of the northern territories into global supply chains, limits international investment cooperation to few mineral resources basins, and thus poses a threat to the resilient development of the entire region. Russia’s government has been paying increasing attention to mitigating social and economic imbalances in the Arctic. The new Strategy for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and Provision of National Security through 2035 (approved in November 2020) for the first time focuses on the development priorities of individual regions and includes per-territory summaries of investment, infrastructure, and social projects. The Arctic Zone of Russia is expanding by the inclusion of new administrative entities. In 2020, Russia announced preferences for investors which have turned the Russian Arctic into the world’s largest free economic zone of almost five million square kilometers. Such changes cannot but affect business links with foreign counterparts. In this study, the authors explore new possibilities of Russia-China economic and investment cooperation in the High North. The analysis includes Russia’s national Arctic strategy and regional strategies of the nine administrative territories that constitute the Arctic Zone of Russia. The study concludes with the per-territory identification of the most promising investment and infrastructure projects for China to take part in.

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