Financial Times: Positive implications from Russian-Norwegian compromise

The Russian-Norwegian Arctic

The compromise deal on the delimitation of the Barents Sea struck last week by Russia and Norway will have implications on future disputes in the Arctic. It also shows new tendencies in Russian foreign policies, the Financial Times writes in an editorial.


The delimitation of the 175,000 square meter waters in the Barents Sea will not only open up for oil and gas production in a highly promising area. It will also have implications for the way future Arctic disputes are resolved and illustrates that there is no need for new international legislation in the region. “Resolving such an old and sore quarrel in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea boosts Arctic coastal states’ claim that no special treaty is needed for the newly accessible seas around the pole”, the newspaper writes. Furthermore, the compromise also shows a Russia, which is willing to adjust its foreign policies. “The political reward for Russia is particularly important. Showing that it can pursue its national interest within accepted legal rules makes it harder to dismiss it as a land-grabbing colonial power from the 19th century. Accepting this deal – which Norway has probably been willing to conclude for years – matches Russia’s new tendency to adopt a mellower tone in how it conducts foreign policy elsewhere”, the editorial reads.