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Our Arctic policy is transparent

REYKJAVIK: Vladimir Barbin (right) talking at Arctic Circle. From left: Viktor Olersky, Deputy Minister of Transport, Igor Orlov, Governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast, and Anton Vasiliyev, Ambassador to Iceland.

“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.

In his speech at the plenary session “Russia in the Arctic”, Russia’s representative to the Arctic Council said that cooperation in the Arctic is going on as normal and is not affected by “problems on the international arena”.

Russia is convinced that it is the Arctic states that have the biggest responsibility for the Arctic, but an international cooperation is needed in order to solve all challenges. Many non-arctic states are now involved in Arctic matters, which Russia sees as vital for a sustainable development of the region.

“All our activities in the Arctic are in compliance with international law. We do not want any more rights than any other coastal state, but we want the same rights,” Barbin said, and added that “there are no challenges or problems in the arctic that can be solved with military means.”

The main national interests of the Russian Federation in the Arctic are: the use of the Russia’s Arctic regions as a strategic resource base that can provide solutions to the task of socio-economic development of the country; preservation of the Arctic as an area of peace and cooperation; conservation of the unique ecosystems of the Arctic; use of the Northern Sea Route as a national unified transportation line of Russia.

There is no split in Russian leadership when it comes to Arctic policy. The international legal regime clearly states the rights of arctic coastal states and other states. The laws are not contested by anyone, Barbin underlined.

Russian authorities emphasise to have a transparent Arctic policy. All main documents that serve as the guideline for Russia’s Arctic policy are published on-line and open for all to read. “Our Arctic policy is transparent. Glasnost is still relevant,” Barbin said.