Finland expands Arctic cooperation with Russia

Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb in Russia's Arctic capital Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Possible establishment of joint shipbuilding enterprise to build high-tech Arctic vessels.

Finland wants to place itself as a key-player in the Arctic; establishment of EU’s Arctic info-centre to Rovaniemi, holding Arctic Summit this year; develop its infrastructure towards Arctic Oceans and this week initiates political and economical ties with Russia in the Arctic.

Read alsoFinland: Arctic strategy with Barents Dimension

Speaking about “Finnish-Russian Arctic Partnership” in St. Petersburg this week; Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said the cooperation with Russia should be free from red tape.

- Something new should be created to develop our cooperation on the political and business levels, Alexander Stubb said to the audience, Itar-Tass reports from the joint seminar in Russia’s second largest city.

The Finnish Foreign Minister also suggested to work together with Russian on marketing the Northern Sea Route.

Russia’s high-profiled Arctic explorer Arthur Chilingarov followed up on Alexander Stubb’s speech by launching the idea to set up a joint Finnish – Russian shipbuilding enterprise. Such enterprise can build high-tech Arctic vessels.

Finland has a long history of building Arctic vessels for the Soviet Union, later Russia. The two nuclear powered icebreakers Taimyr and Vaigash, based in Murmansk, were built in Finland in the 80ties. Also, the Mir deep-water submarine that Arthur Chilingarov used when he planted the Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole in 2007 was originally built in Finland.

- Joint  development of the Barents Sea shelf can be another trend of cooperation, Chilingarov said, according to Itar-Tass.

Friends in the Arctic: Foreign Ministers of Russia and Finland: Sergei Lavrov and Alexander Stubb.
Photo: Thomas Nilsen

In Murmansk, Finland will upgrade its diplomatic office to a full-fledged Consulate General that will be located together with the existing Norwegian Consulate General.

Read alsoConsulate General in Murmansk part of Finland’s Arctic strategy