The situation surrounding the Arctic — the West is preparing for squatting

Photo from: dspa.info

Bilateral contacts in international practice is commonplace and constant. That visit to the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton June 1-2 SG to Norway, it would seem, has not been declared as something special. After staying in the Norwegian capital Oslo, Mrs. Clinton, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Jonas Støre went to the north of the country to the city of Tromsø. It has held talks on issues related to the Arctic, to be exact — the problems of the struggle for the Arctic, which is gradually becoming an active phase. The talks were held behind closed doors, a lot of these doors and left, and judge of them can only be followed by a press conference.

What exactly was it about? The first thing that attracted attention — is immoderate activity of two politicians in areas where the credentials of the representatives of only two Arctic states clearly lacking.

It was in the first place about the possibility of the "internationalization" of the resources in the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route. Americans and Norwegians have expressed intention to "set the rules" for this region of the world. According to Clinton, "the Obama administration insists the law ratifying the Convention on the seas, which provides an international framework for the study of new opportunities in the Arctic. The Convention establishes rules of the road that protect freedom of navigation, ensure safety at sea, serve the interests of every nation that enjoys sea routes for commerce and trade, and also establishes the basis for the exploration of natural resources, which may be present in the Arctic. " It seems that everything looks smooth, but for this euphonic phrase lies a big problem — the draft law of the Convention has long existed, but he did not offer a universal version of the separation of international and national jurisdiction of any coastal or in the economic zones of the Arctic states. It should "bring to mind", but this is exactly what the Americans and Norwegians do not need. With those "holes", what the project is now, he will interpret the interests of the different states in the Arctic by the right of the strong.

Moreover, in the Arctic shelf separation achieved by national origin, and to be put out there with the "freedom of international activities" means rapidly increasing tangle of problems that could result in the most dramatic consequences. For example, Russia's claim to ownership of the Lomonosov Ridge is nothing but confusion in the West is called. Russian scientists have found that the range, starting from the Russian coast, crosses the central part of the Arctic Ocean and extends about 1,800 kilometers from the New Siberian Islands to Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Width varies from 60 to 200 km. This is a huge area, going well beyond the 200-mile economic zone of the Russian Federation. In 2002, Russia sent an application to the UN Commission on the external borders of the shelf, which argued the proposal to set new boundaries of Russia's continental shelf beyond the established 200-mile (but within the Russian sector of the Arctic.) One of the arguments of the Russian side was the claim that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleyev ridges are direct continuations of the continent. The UN Commission did not reject, but not satisfied with Russia's bid and asked about the prospects of shelf hung in the air.

This is a typical example of what a huge Arctic space in a way reminiscent of the Wild West territory, which are ready to rush immigrants from different countries, claiming their usurpations strong. It is on this and similar intentions of U.S. and Norwegian politicians.

In order to fulfill their ambitions, they are going to use an international instrument of the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council was established in 1996 on the initiative of Finland to protect the unique nature of the polar zone. It consists of eight countries (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA). And address the ecology of the North, as well as cooperation in the aviation and maritime search and rescue.

It would seem that this type of organization is welcome, if not a "but." But more and more advice is to the service of the main body of the Western participants, and especially the United States and Russia are increasingly relegated to the periphery of the activity. So this time, U.S. Secretary of State identified in the Arctic Council a "center" of the five countries: the USA, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and another, unnamed country (but obviously not Russia), which would "core" of the Arctic.

Tromsø 2030 International Center will be built, and it is here to host the permanent secretariat of the Arctic Council. Besides the United States have been named the "most important" of the state of the Arctic Council, as it will automatically get the role of coordinator and curator of his work. On the major powers of the Arctic coast — Russia, which controls the entire Northern Sea Route — was not going to even question.

But plans are made, as well as it sounded kindly. In them, nothing was mentioned about the real ambitions of the participants, but glibly tell of saving the Arctic environment. In particular, Hillary Clinton said: "The United States and Norway are going to promote responsible management of these resources (?) And we will do everything possible to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. I identify new partnerships that I have identified as the "Coalition for climate and clean air» (the Climate and Clean Air Coalition), and we are very pleased that Norway is a member of it. So I want to thank Norway for making an initial commitment of half a million dollars, as well as Norway's pledge of one million dollars specifically for the target program on black carbon in the Arctic. I am very grateful that we had the opportunity to meet with the head of Statoil and the representative of the new company Norwegianers with ExxonMobil and discuss with them the possibility of reducing the emissions of methane and carbon black oil and gas companies in their own production … "

It would seem that Clinton skillfully substituted Arctic issues concern the environment, only it is not clear what relationship the participants have to "responsible management (chuzhimi!) resources" and whether it is a program on black carbon in the Arctic only on the prevention of oil spills or what- what else?

Some clarification to these issues provides the following phrase Hillary Clinton: "… and you're right that many countries are looking at what would become the potential for exploration and production of natural resources, as well as new shipping routes, and are increasingly expressing interest in the Arctic. And we want the Arctic Council remained the main institution that deals with the Arctic. Thus, one of the issues of the day as we bring is the possibility for other countries, it is very far from the Arctic to learn more about the Arctic. These countries should be integrated into the framework of cooperation that we create and, in fact, set some standards that we would like to follow everything. "

Mrs. Clinton gently spreads. But from the above it is clear that the Arctic Council is transformed into a structure that oversees the entire process of the Arctic, and it will be done under the guidance of a small group of designated meeting in Tromsø.

Process without the involvement of Arctic Russia to him (or her non-inclusion in the "core managers") will be the likeness of squatting alien territory, because no claims to "development" of wealth that Russia considers its own, this can not manage.

Russian Arctic area is the richest in the area. According to estimates of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, Russian Arctic area can contain up to 586 billion barrels of oil (Saudi Arabia's oil reserves are 260 billion barrels). In the Arctic, there are large deposits of coal, nickel, copper, lead, zinc, gold, diamonds and titanium. And a huge part of these resources are located on the Russian shelf.

In addition, "squatting" can not be ruled out because the real possibilities of Russia to defend its interests in the Arctic dramatically reduced. Weakness has always been a competitor for the descendants of the conquerors of the Wild West, the main reason to ignore its interests.

Severely weakened the military cover-up of the North. Northern fleet is aging and is virtually filled with new ships. It includes (not counting the nuclear-powered missile submarine, related to SNF), 16 nuclear power (7 to repair) and 7 Diesel (1 repaired) submarines, one aircraft carrier, three cruisers (one repaired), 2 destroyers, 5 large (2 repaired) and 6 small (3 to repair) antisubmarine ships, three small rocket ship, seven minesweepers, five amphibious ships (3 repair). Repair of our Navy ships back into service very rarely. Much more of it go to a breaker. Of surface ships more or less modern and combat-ready is only an introduction into service in 90 years nuclear cruiser "Peter the Great" and BOD "Admiral Chabanenko".

If we keep in mind that the length of our Arctic coast accounts for almost 20 thousand miles, and the Northern Fleet, in fact, is not only and not so much the "northern" as "Atlantic" and is intended to accomplish strategic objectives, it is clear what the lack of naval potential in this area. For NATO naval consisting of hundreds of warships, is not a rival.

Things are no better, and the protection of the coast. Grouping of the Armed Forces stationed only at the western edge of it, in the north-west of the Kola Peninsula. This is one motorized infantry brigade, one brigade of marines, three air bases and two anti-aircraft missile regiment S-300P. They include a total of about 100 tanks, 100 armored personnel carriers, over 100 artillery pieces and 60 combat aircraft, 30 attack, and the same transport helicopters. If we move along the coast to the east, there is still only one warhead — SAM regiment S-300P by Severodvinsk. Further — to the Bering Strait — nothing.

Nuclear icebreaker fleet degrades and is not updated for more than 20 years. If the foreign companies will massively put in the economic zone of the Russian Federation drilling platforms, then Russia there a big problem impeding force of this trend, as it requires special capabilities. The more the problem will grow if these rigs will be under the protection of the States Navy. How real is the threat? In recent years, the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway Arctic dramatically increased their military programs. Even talking about the North "mini-NATO" in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Canada plans to create by 2012 the Arctic Navy, built eight Arctic-class warships. The Danish Government has approved a plan to create in 2011-2014. Joint Arctic military command, deploying a military base in northern Greenland, the Arctic and the formation of the group response force.

A separate chapter should address the issue of the Northern Sea Route, running along the Russian coast.

After the expedition, Otto Schmidt (1932) The Northern Sea Route Murmansk — Vladivostok worked constantly. Even World War II was not able to stop his work. But now operates only a segment from Murmansk to Dixon, and NSR need global economy in its present form. So, soon be designated interest in its recovery from the foreign countries. The more so as a result of global warming, much of the Arctic and Antarctica was destroyed and the Northern way is becoming more affordable.

Northern route is more favorable than the path through the Suez Canal. Distance from Murmansk to Shanghai the NSR can be completed in 22 days and through the Suez Canal — only for 42 days. Saving time, fuel, and it's pretty significant money, and safer — in the Malacca Straits, and especially in the Red Sea naughty pirates. This tidbit, which can not be overlooked international corporations. Therefore, today in South Korea and China, are not relevant to the Arctic, is developing rapidly building program icebreakers.

What Russia has done to improve the situation?

The Russian government has developed the "Principles of state policy in the Arctic up to 2020 and beyond" a few years ago. In the first phase 2008-2010. nothing significant was done. All the negative trends were present in the past, only worsened. MOE conducted an expedition to monitor dangerous objects — in the Kara Sea monitoring flooded nuclear reactors. In the New Earth Expedition studied in detail the reactor assembly and reactor compartment icebreaker "Lenin".

Until 2020:

— modernization of ports;

— Russian Emergencies Ministry is planning to establish a system of specialized rescue centers in the Russian Arctic, the area of responsibility will include all of the Northern Sea Route. Location of future emergencies center: in Arkhangelsk, Salekhard, Dudinka, Tiksi Pevek and Anadyr. New units will equip fire rescue special equipment, helicopters with specially trained crews, as well as ships and boats;

— in 2011-2015. plan to create a single information space of the Arctic zone of Russia, considering cable laying on the bottom of the Arctic seas — a system of "Polarnet";

— there are plans to create in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky international port, a major transport hub in the Northern Sea Route between the Asia-Pacific region and Northern Europe.

This is all necessary and useful plans, but they do not provide the probability of a hard conflict of interest in this area of the world. Therefore, besides the measures contained in the "Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic …", it is necessary to:

— immediately begin construction of a new icebreaking fleet;

— encourage resource corporations in developing countries to the shelf, regardless of UN recognition;

— develop a comprehensive program for economic, social and cultural development of the Arctic;

— immediately begin the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Northern Fleet, re-directing it to the main problem — the protection of the Russian Arctic;

— create a special military unit able to provide real power arguments in the future points of conflict of interest in this area of the world;

— On the diplomatic front firmly defend its position, not to allow the West to get to the Russian North pantries.

In general, experts say that the potential of the Russian Arctic makes it possible to develop a national mega-project, which would become one of the main drivers of economic modernization. But in order to join in the beginning, "North race," Russia will have to exert effort and focus in this area a tremendous amount of money.

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