Nagurskoye, a military base in Alexandra Land, in the northwestern islands of Franz Josefs Land, will receive a series of improvements by 2017. The base holds Russia’s northernmost airfield and the world’s northernmost border guard station.
Russia’s Federal Agency for Special Construction Projects (Spetsstroy) has been tasked with building a new airport, set to be unveiled in early December 2016. The contract is estimated to be worth 3.6 billion rubles (€49.3 million), Interfax reports.
In addition, another 4.2 billion rubles (€57.5 million) will be used to upgrade infrastructure in the military base. This includes administrative facilities and living quarters for 150 persons, storage facilities, utility networks, and 8.5 kilometers of roads. All of this should be ready by autumn 2016.
Russia has had a meteorological station on the island since WWII. The airfield in Nagurskoye was built in 1950s as a staging base for Soviet Long Range Aviation bombers, but has in the latest years mostly been used by the border guard service. The airfield melts down in the summer and can therefore only be used in the wintertime, which lasts for ten months in Franz Josefs Land.
In 2010 the settlement of Nagurskoye was visited by Vladimir Putin, who was then Prime Minister of Russia, and Sergey Shoygu, who at the time was Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Russia has for the last years enhanced its military presence in the Arctic. On December 1 2014 the defense of the Arctic territories was united in a new strategic formation – the Strategic command “Sever”, which consists of the Northern Fleet and units of other military branches located in the northern parts of the country.The Russian Air Force in October 2013 re-opened the Temp airfield on the Kotelny Island, which is planned to be the first in a chain of similar bases all along the northern coast of Russia.