Putin Invites Foreign Partners to Join in Development of the Arctic

International Arctic Forum

Published Apr 9, 2019 8:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Russia's President Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary meeting of the 5th International Arctic Forum "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" on April 9 - inviting foreign partners to join in development of the Arctic.

The discussion was attended by Finland's President Sauli Niinistö , Iceland's President Gudni Torlacius Johannesson, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Sweden's Prime Minister Stephan Leuven.

In 2021, Russia will assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. “We offer all member countries of this organization, as well as other states, cooperation in the Arctic,” said Putin. Russia intends to prepare and adopt a new strategy for the development of the Russian Arctic until 2035 this year, and Putin says particular attention will be paid to the development of transport and supporting infrastructure.

Among the key infrastructure projects planned is the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway which will allow effective development of the natural resources of the Polar Urals, Yamal and the north of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. 

Additionally, work will continue on the Northern Sea Route to ensure it operates smoothly year-round.
Putin's 2018 Address to the Federal Assembly set the goal is to significantly increase the volume of freight traffic along the Northern Sea Route - up to 80 million tons by 2025. 

“10–15 years ago, this figure seemed completely unattainable,” said Putin. “Now it is a realistic, calculated and substantive task. At the end of last year, the volume of traffic on the Northern Sea Route has already reached 20 million tons. And this is three times - I want to emphasize this - three times higher than the Soviet record set in 1987.”

Putin committed to developing communication and coastal infrastructure, including port facilities and navigation, meteorological and commercial navigation security. “We invite our foreign partners to work together on the creation of hub ports at the end points of the route. I mean the Murmansk transport hub and port infrastructure in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In addition, we intend to modernize the harbors of the Arctic coast, including the possibilities for organizing river-sea traffic.”

By 2035, Russia's Arctic icebreaker fleet will consist of at least 13 heavy linear icebreakers, including nine nuclear ones. Putin notes that Russia is investing funds to make payment for icebreaker escort of vessels should be competitive and reasonable. 

The complexity of Arctic development requires a powerful scientific, human, technological base, says Putin. Research centers are being developed and he is looking for university exchanges, the creation of international research teams and alliances with high-tech companies. “We invite all interested colleagues to work together in the field of shipbuilding, communications, navigation safety, in the field of ecology, mining and bioresources,” he said.

However, discussing Russia's position on sanctions, Putin noted money spent on import substitution and said: “The future of Russia depends only on us, on how much we can effectively transform our political system, how democratic it will be, how much it will push all the healthiest forces of society, the creative energy of our citizens to the surface.”