Parachuting In by ProQuest

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Over the coming decades it seems quite possible that the climatic conditions in parts of the High North will ameliorate, while technological progress will open up these remote areas for proper exploitation in the sameway that energy companies are now drilling in the Gulf ofMexico, the Caspian Sea and elsewhere at depths that were once considered unthinkable. Because its economy is highly dependent on the export of oil and natural gas, which make up around 65 percent of its foreign exchange earnings, Russia is also anxious to secure future supplies in case existing reserves become commercially exhausted.

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									                                                                           THEWORLDTODAY.ORG APRIL 2010
                                                                                                                                                 PAGE 19
 RUSSIA AND THE ARCTIC
 Roger Howard, AUTHOR, ARCTIC GOLD RUSH: THE NEW RACE FOR TOMORROW’S NATURAL RESOURCES, CONTINUUM, 2009




ParachutingIn
Russia’s armed forces are expected
to try to seize international
headlines in the coming weeks by
dropping a team of specially trained
parachutists over the North Pole.
Moscow claims to be ‘peacefully’
commemorating the first airborne
                                                        t                HE KREMLIN REGARDS THE HIGH NORTH AS PART
                                                                          of its national sphere of influence and the
                                                                          parachute drop is intended to send that clear
                                                                          and simple message to both the outside world
                                                                          and the Russian public. This was also the
                                                                          motive behind a deepwater mission in August
                                                        2007 by two miniature submarines that descended to the
                                                        depths of the Arctic Ocean to take geological samples from the
                                                        seabed and leave behind a metal Russian flag.
                                                           Russia may want to rely on shows of military force to
                                                        stake its claim to areas of the High North for the
                                                        simple reason that its legal case, under international law,
landing there made by two Soviet                        may prove less than watertight.
scientists, Vitaly Volovich and                            Although it has automatic sovereign rights over a belt of sea
                                                        that stretches for up to two hundred nautical miles from its
Andrei Medvedev, in May 1949. But                       coasts, it can also potentially stake a claim over a much larger
                                                        area. But to do this, it must demonstrate that ‘the natural
much more is at stake: questions of                     prolongation of its land territory’ – its outer continental shelf –
power and energy.                                       extends beyond that two hundred-mile limit.

                                                                                                  C W S / T U N I N / M O S C O W/ R U S S I A
THEWORLDTODAY.ORG APRIL 2010
PAGE 20




             If it can do so, then Russia could claim sovereign rights        of the world’s undiscovered oil and thirty percent of its
          over any natural resources found in an area reaching up to          undiscovered natural gas. Although these figures are highly
          three hundred and fifty miles from its coasts. This would           speculative, Russia knows that they might potentially even
          extend all the way from its northern-most territory, the Franz      understate what really lies there: huge areas of the East
          Josef Islands in the Barents Sea, to the North Pole.                Siberian, Chuckhi and Barents Se
								
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