The Russian Governmental commission for securing of Russian presence on Svalbard has adopted a proposition for a strategy on how to increase the country’s presence on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
The document is meant for “securing Russia’s interests in the region” and contains an analysis of the main basis for Russian presence on Svalbard. The strategy is aimed at securing Russian presence on Svalbard through optimization, increased efficiency and diversification of the country’s economic activities, the Government’s web site reads.
The Commisssion’s leader, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, emphasized that construction of a fish processing plant and a scientific research center in Barentsburg are prioritized measures.
The research center will be a filial of the Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO). The plan is to modernize already existing buildings to house a new center that will be developing projects of geophysical, hydrologic and geologic kind and will also contain a station for reception of satellite data.
Also better living conditions for the Russian population through focus on health care, transport and telephone communications are part of the strategy.
There are some 400 Russians living on Svalbard, which has a total population of approximately 2700. Most of the Russians are employed in the state company Arktikugol’s coal mines. The members of the commission stressed the strategic importance of Arktikugol’s activity on the archipelago and underlined the need of securing Russian organizations the right level of state funding.