Foreign Policy Blogs

Arctic

Russia launches its 40th-ever drifting ice station

Russia launches its 40th-ever drifting ice station

Russia has just launched a drifting ice station in the Arctic with 16 people on board. The researchers will be carrying out all sorts of studies as they drift through the Arctic, working in oceanography, meteorology, and glaciology. The flag was raised on North Pole-40 (NP-40), aptly (and a bit oddly) named “Russia,” at 85°12′ […]

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Iron ore and fiber optics in the works for Nunavut

Iron ore and fiber optics in the works for Nunavut

Nunavut, Canada is home to a wealth of mineral resources, yet it suffers from a dearth of high-speed internet. New developments in both of those areas could bring big changes to the territory. First, after four years of assessment and analysis, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) approved the Mary River iron mine on Baffin Island, in […]

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South Korea and Norway sign memoranda of understanding on Arctic shipping and shipbuilding

South Korea and Norway sign memoranda of understanding on Arctic shipping and shipbuilding

Last week, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited Norway for two days. He met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to discuss trade relations, political cooperation, and North Korea. The two countries signed two memoranda of understanding. The first concerns environmentally-conscientious shipbuilding, which makes sense given the two countries’ heavy involvement in the industry. South […]

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Russia to construct world’s largest nuclear icebreaker

Russia to construct world’s largest nuclear icebreaker

Russia oversees the world’s largest fleet of nuclear icebreakers, and it will soon add the largest one yet to its tally. Rosatom, which currently manages Russia’s fleet of new icebreakers through its subsidiary, Atomflot, has just signed a contract with the St.Petersburg-based shipbuilding company Baltisky Zavod to construct a 556-foot long behemoth – about 42 […]

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New port in Murmansk slated for coal exports

New port in Murmansk slated for coal exports

SDS-Ugol, a major coal producer in Russia, has announced plans to build a new seaport outside of Murmansk that will accommodate up to 18 million tons of coal exports a year. Many of the company’s coal mines are located in the Kuzbass region in Siberia. From there, much of the coal is shipped by rail […]

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NWT Premier pushes for oil sands pipeline to Arctic

NWT Premier pushes for oil sands pipeline to Arctic

Canada may have the second largest oil reserves in the world, but the vast majority are locked up in Alberta’s oil sands, far from any ocean. That means that pipelines are needed to transport the oil west to ports on Canada’s Pacific Coast or south to markets in the United States. With President Barack Obama […]

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Russian Navy to acquire two new nuclear submarines this year

Russian Navy to acquire two new nuclear submarines this year

As I mentioned in my previous post, Putin’s administration is busy readying the Northern Sea Route for increased maritime traffic. In order to maintain control over the shipping lane, Russia will need a first-class navy and naval bases. Plans are underway to equip the navy with eight new nuclear submarines by 2020. Last month, at […]

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Russia Pushes Development of Northern Sea Route

Russia Pushes Development of Northern Sea Route

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s administration is trying to get a leg up on development of the Northern Sea Route. Earlier this week, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev stated to RIA Novosti that the amount of state supervision and control over the Northern Sea Route was “not acceptable,” especially in the eastern part. […]

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U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA’s summer operations underway in the Arctic

U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA’s summer operations underway in the Arctic

In mid-July, the U.S. Coast Guard opened its forward operating location (FOL) for the summer in Barrow, Alaska, where they will remain until October. This year, their mission, entitled Operation Arctic Shield, will focus on operations, outreach, and capability assessment. Since February, the Coast Guard’s 17th District, which oversees Alaska, has been working closely with […]

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Alaskan Senators Push for Creation of U.S. Arctic Policy

Alaskan Senators Push for Creation of U.S. Arctic Policy

In the U.S., the only Arctic country without a national policy for the region, there are stirrings in the Senate about drafting one. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) co-wrote a letter (PDF) to President Barack Obama, citing the “less than organized fashion” in which Arctic policy-making has proceeded since the signing of […]

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Canada Orders Seven Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships from Irving Shipbuilding

Canada Orders Seven Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships from Irving Shipbuilding

Canada’s Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) have been in the pipeline for five years. Now, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has signed a CAN $9.3. million contract with the Nova Scotia-based Irving Shipbuilding to begin work on the vessels. It’s an important first step as for a while, even the number of AOPS Canada would acquire […]

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Extraordinary Photos of Arctic Underwater Life

Extraordinary Photos of Arctic Underwater Life

Many people know the Arctic as the home of fuzzy white polar bears, smiling beluga whales, and mythical-looking narwhals. Yet through his underwater photography, Russian marine biologist Alexander Semenov is trying to publicize the more unknown creatures of the White Sea, located off the coast of northwestern Russia near the Kola Peninsula. Massive scyphozoan jellies, […]

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China’s Xue Long icebreaker embarks on Arctic expedition

China’s Xue Long icebreaker embarks on Arctic expedition

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long departed Shanghai on June 27 for a three-month expedition that will take it to the Arctic. 120 people are on board, including scientists from France, Denmark, Iceland, and Taiwan. According to China Daily, researchers will study the effects of changes in the Arctic ecosystem on the climate of China and […]

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Vladivostok, Future Capital of Siberia?

Vladivostok, Future Capital of Siberia?

In the latest edition of Russia in Global Affairs, Sergei Karaganov suggests that Russia needs three capitals: Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vladivostok. The third city would be the capital of Siberia and would constitute a new economic capital for Russia. Vladivostok is about as far south as you can get in Siberia, and it’s really […]

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Swedish Foreign Minister Discusses Arctic Challenges

Swedish Foreign Minister Discusses Arctic Challenges

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt delivered a lecture to over 300 people at Carleton University last month entitled “Arctic Challenges and the Future Perspectives of Arctic Co-operation. He starts off by discussing how, “more than anything,” Canada and Sweden are linked by geography as they both extend into the Arctic. The two countries also share […]

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