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The Russian Arctic now redefined

Major areas in northern Russia will no longer be defined as "Arctic", among them towns and villages in the Komi Republic.

New legislation slashes the number of regions officially included in Russian Arctic territories. Major parts of the Barents Region will no longer be acknowledged as “Arctic”.

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After a long-lasting hassle with representatives of northern regions, the Ministry of Regional Development has now approved the list of territories officially acknowledged as part of the Russian Arctic zone. With the new legislation follows a considerable restriction of the areas entitled to get favourable Arctic benefits.

Speaking at the Kirkenes Conference last week, Murmansk Deputy Governor Geogry Stratiy confirmed that all of Murmansk Oblast has been included in the new definition. However, the neighboring regions are not equally lucky. All of the Republic of Karelia has fallen out of the list along with the Republic of Komi. In Arkhangelsk Oblast, only seven municipalities are included in the zone.

According to Murman.ru, the Russian Arctic territories will officially include Murmansk Oblast, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the Yamal-Nenets AO, the Chukotka AO, parts of the Yakutia region, as well as the three northernmost municipalities of the Krasnoyarsk Kray. A final decision on the zone is expected to be made by the federal government in an upcoming session.

As previously reported, the Ministry of Regional Development originally proposed to make additional restrictions in the zone. In a first draft bill, only the northernmost coastal areas in Murmansk Oblast were included. The new definition now includes all areas situated to the north of the Arctic Circle.

Status as “Arctic territory” includes favourable taxation and investments, as well as beneficial social and economic conditions for the local population.

The new legislation also includes a number of new rules of conduct in the region, among them within the field of transportation. Infrastructure development will be a priority, and the state, and not private companies, will be in the driver’s seat.