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Home NewsVladimir Putin entered the struggle for the Arctic

Vladimir Putin entered the struggle for the Arctic

The next three years will be dedicated to this

The icebreaker has been named after Viktor Chernomyrdin, a politician on whom the Russian President looked up to.

Year 2021 will become the year of reinforcement of Russia’s presence in the Arctic. For the next three years Russia will be the chairman of the International Arctic Council, a body that regulates all Arctic-related issues, and Russia is getting ready to use it, what has become clear from Vladimir Putin’s speech made during the ceremonial launching of the new icebreaker “Viktor Chernomyrdin”. During the official launching ceremony he spoke to the global society about the struggle for the Arctic.
“Viktor Chernomyrdin” is the world’s biggest conventional powered vessel which has been built at the Saint Petersburg’s FSUE Admiralty Shipyards from December 2012. The ship is named after Viktor Chernomyrdin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers. The icebreaker’s ceremonial launching on November 03 was dedicated to 10th anniversary of the expiry of the Russian politician. President Putin said during the National Flag Hosting Ceremony held on board that he has looked up to Chernomyrdin: “Generally he was a workaholic. I have personally seen this; I looked how he worked and learned much from him. He was a man infinitely devoted to his Motherland”.

The President was given a tour around the ship

Putin emphasized symbolism in the fact that the new icebreaker has been built by domestic shipbuilders at the Russian shipyard. The sea vessel can operate at low temperatures, can pass through floe and is of a special importance for the development and exploration of the North, said the President. Moreover, Putin added: “It is well-known that we have a unique icebreakers fleet and we hold a leading position in exploration and study of the Arctic territories. We must constantly reaffirm this leadership. Progress is already under way to develop several series of diesel and atomic icebreakers which have no analogues in the world”.
The Russian President said that the “Viktor Chernomyrdin” icebreaker will be used for navigation of freighters through the Northern Sea Route, which is the shortest sea route between the Russian Far East and the European part of the country. Political scientist Dmitry Zhuravlev explained that the NSR may become a quite successful commercial project in the future. He said: “China’s goal is to supply as many goods to the Europe as they supply to the USA so the NSR may become one of the key routes. Meanwhile Russia will not only be receiving fees from other countries for using the national route NSR but also the fees for the use of ports, not to mention the icebreaker navigation that is always being paid for separately”.

Комиссия ЦИК в Сабетте. Сабетта
The Northern Sea Route can connect Asia and Europe
Photo by: Andrey Guselnikov © URA.RU

However it is said in the Strategy for the Development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation through 2035 that there’s a delay in the development of the NSR’s infrastructure, in building of icebreakers and that there’s a lack of systems for emergency medical care for sea vessels’ crews. Vladimir Kharlov, Vice-President of the Northern Sea Route Association, told that foreign investments are required in order to expedite the development of the project. Russia plans to use its chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023 in order to attract the necessary investments into the project (apart from Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, USA, Finland and Sweden are the members of the Arctic Council).
Kharlov said: “I will visit Quebec in February 2021 on behalf of the VEB.RF (Vnesheconombank) where we plan to hold negotiations on the NSR with Canada. If the negotiations will be successful then we, being the chair of the Council, expect to receive about USD 200 million investments into the project. These funds are, for example, necessary for reconstruction of ports, for conduct of dredging works and for forecasting the climate changes. Currently we’re lagging behind on many things”.

Vladimir Kharlov to attend the negotiations on the investments into the NSR
Source: the Northern Sea Route Association’s official website

Konstantin Zaykov, Director of the Arctic Centre for Strategic Studies under the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, emphasized the following problem: presently the NSR lacks the confidence of the foreign partners because of, for example, ships are exposed to a threat of being stuck in ice. However, statistics speaks for itself: about 600 billion tons of freight is being annually passed through the alternate Suez Canal, which is longer, while the expected amount of cargo to be shipped through the NSR in 2020 is 31 million tons, majority of which are related to the domestic traffic.

Zaykov thinks that the ceremonial launching of the huge icebreaker by President Putin was a signal to foreign partners indicating that the NSR can be trusted. He said:”On the one hand, the NSR’s navigation conditions are important for foreign partners and, on the other hand, the icebreaker support is also important for them. The expansion of the icebreakers fleet proves it to our potential foreign partners that we are building the infrastructure necessary for the Northern Sea Route”.

Article by Sergey Dianov

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Ministry of natural resources and ecology of the Russian Federation Federal service for Hydrometeorology and monitoring environment SSC RF "Arctic and Antarctic research center Institute».

Long-term ice forecasts for the Arctic seas for the second half of navigation (August-October) 2020.

16-th of April, 2020 NSR association conference information and NSR council meeting under Arthur Chilingarov chairmanship on March, 14 in Naryan -Mar city, Nenets district.

Welcome to Russian and foreign NSR association partners and friends to join to the previous and updated events

Welcome to Russian and foreign NSR association partners and friends to join to the previous and updated events where we are involved in November -December, 2019.

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