New Maritime Doctrine of Russia Gives Prominent Place to Arctic
On 31 July 2022, the President of Russia approved the new Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation. It is a key document for the national security and development, replacing the doctrine of 2015. The Arctic theme is among the fundamentally important issues outlined in the document.1 August 2022
The development of the Arctic zone of Russia as a strategic resource base is mentioned as a national interest in the World Ocean. The necessity of its rational use, including full-scale development of the Russian continental shelf, is thus postulated. The theme of developing the North Sea Route as a national transport mainline competitive in the world market is also stated. The doctrine focuses on establishing year-round navigation along the NSR and defines measures to improve its safety, including the development of meteorological monitoring and forecasting, communication and positioning systems, etc. This was covered by Aleksandr Stotskiy, Director General of the Project Office for Arctic Development.
The exclusive economic zone and the Russian continental shelf (including the Russian continental shelf beyond the 200-mile exclusive economic zone in the Arctic Basin within the boundaries defined in the recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in accordance with article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) are classified as vital areas (zones) for ensuring Russia's national interests in the World Ocean and the Arctic basin adjacent to the Russian coast, including the North Sea Route.
The main challenges Russia will face in high latitudes include the efforts of certain states to weaken Russia's control over the North Sea Route, the growing foreign naval presence in the Arctic, and the increasing conflict potential in the region. In turn, the incomplete international legal delimitation of maritime areas in the Arctic and attempts to overturn the provisions of international law governing maritime activities in the Arctic are indicated as a risk to the maritime activities of the Russian Federation. This risk is to be overcome through active cooperation with the Arctic States to complete the delimitation based on the international law and mutual agreements.
A number of strategic goals within the national maritime policy also concern the Arctic. In particular, the document sets forth the goal of increasing the competitiveness of the Russian sea transport and the North Sea Route in the sea transportation market. Another strategic goal of Russia is to reach an agreement with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to establish the outer boundary of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic, as stipulated in the application for the extension of the shelf boundaries submitted by Russia in 2001 (with subsequent additions).
A priority of the doctrine is the widespread development of the natural resources in the Russian Arctic Zone (primarily fuel and energy), as well as the creation of favourable conditions for Russian oil and gas producing and gas transportation companies. There are also plans to build an industrial, technological and research base for the economic development of the coastal territories in the Russian Arctic, as well as of the adjacent water areas.
Significant attention is paid to theoretical and applied aspects of high-latitude science.