International Council Arctic Frost | Latest news The Moscow Post
09 December 2023

International Council Arctic Frost

"The full-format activities of the Arctic Council remain" frozen "due to the fault of Western member countries," the Foreign Ministry representatives made such a statement to The Moscow Post.

Also, representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry added that "further work, and the fate of this organization, depends on whether the Western Arctic states will be able to continue a civilized dialogue and cooperation in this format in the interests of preserving peace, stability and ensuring the progressive development of the entire Arctic region." 

Is there life outside the Arctic Council?

The spring of 2023 turned out to be extremely rich in events, in the center of which was the Arctic region of the Russian Federation, including such events as:

· exercise "Safe Arctic 2023" (part of the program of the Russian presidency of the Arctic Council (AU) in 2021-2023,

· Interregional Forum "Arctic Tourism Week,"

· expedition to the Bolshevik Island of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago,

· expedition "North Pole - 41,"

· Scientific and Practical Conference on Climate and Permafrost.

The scientific and practical conference on climate change and permafrost melting was held March 22-24 in Yakutsk and was organized as part of the plan for Russia's presidency of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023. About 500 experts from Russia and foreign countries took part in it in full-time correspondence format. The participants were welcomed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian sector of the Arctic is very large, from the Murmansk region in the west to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the east. The territories of four states border the Russian Arctic zone: the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark, which owns Greenland.

The total area of ​ ​ Russia's Arctic possessions is about 3 million square meters. km (18% of the entire territory of the Russian Federation), including 2.2 million square meters. km of land, where about 2.4 million people live. This is less than 2% of the population of Russia and about 40% of the total population of the entire Arctic. According to the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev, the Arctic provides 11% of Russia's national income and 22% of exports.

Walking along the Arctic

On behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on April 6-7, a major interdepartmental exercise "Safe Arctic - 2023" of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation was held. Nine Arctic regions of Russia from Karelia to Chukotka, 21 federal executive bodies, 2 state corporations and 11 organizations, as well as 39 representatives from 13 countries, including representatives of African and Latin American states, took part in it. In total, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, more than a thousand people were involved in the event.

The exercises were called "pilot research," scenarios for eliminating the consequences of accidents at production facilities with the release of hazardous chemicals, the threat of radiation infection, power outages and loss of communications, plane crashes, and oil spills were worked out.

As part of the exercise, a research expedition was carried out. The group of 76 men left Naryan Mar on March 26 and arrived in Salekhard on April 7. Participants in the conditions of the North covered about 1600 km off-road, testing samples of domestic equipment, equipment and equipment.

The group worked 18 conditional incidents, overcame water obstacles, steep descents and climbs. According to the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Alexander Kurenkov, the study of the Arctic zone and similar expeditions will help reduce the response time to possible incidents in the Arctic.

Without the Bolsheviks, not a step

The expedition to Bolshevik Island of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago was part of an Arctic exercise. A new snow-dirt airfield for heavy transport aircraft began work on the island. It will ensure the supply of Arctic expeditions, improve the work of the hydrometeorological observatory "Cape Baranova Ice Base."

The most important function of the new airfield will be to ensure the drifting expedition "North Pole." The stationary base "Cape Baranova" of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute on Northern Earth began to be built in 1986, until 1996 the station's infrastructure was operated by polar explorers as a camp site.

In 2013, the station was depreserved for the needs of the North Pole-40 expedition, which took place on a drifting ice floe. The North Pole 41 expedition was a continuation of this program, it was launched in 2022 on the new North Pole ice-resistant platform.

Two Arctic Mi-8AMTSh-VA helicopters will take up duty in the Murmansk region and will ensure the safety of the Northern Sea Route. In total, there will be seven such helicopters this year. If necessary, cars can be sent to neighboring areas of the North-West of Russia. Currently, rescuers are armed with five unmanned long-range aircraft Orlan-10 and Lun-20.

The Mi-8AMTSh-VA Arctic helicopter is designed specifically for the northern regions and can operate at extremely low temperatures. The car is distinguished by improved thermal insulation of the cabin. The heating system of the oil system and transmission units provides the possibility of prompt starting of the helicopter engine at temperatures up to minus 60 degrees. Additional tanks increased the flight time to seven hours without refueling.

As part of the exercise, a demonstration of technologies for landing personnel and cargo using parachute cargo systems was carried out. "The most difficult task in conditions of strong winds and unstable weather from a height of 300 m was completed by 17 rescuers. Platforms with rescue equipment, equipment and equipment, as well as elements of an airmobile hospital with medical equipment were dropped from the Il-76 aircraft, "the expedition leaders said.

How are you doing on Hatang?

On April 9-13, the Arctic Tourism Week Interregional Forum was held in Norilsk. It was an event planned as part of Russia's Arctic Council presidency. The tourist flow in Norilsk in 2022 exceeded 12 thousand people, in 2019 this figure was 3.9 thousand people, the forum said. The increase in tourist flow is partially due to the launch of the Arctic recreational cluster in Norilsk and Taimyr.

The cluster combined polar settlements - Norilsk, Dudinka, Khatanga, Dixon, remote and small villages of the Taimyr Peninsula, the Putorana plateau and the Arctic coast of the region. Flights of tourists to the North Pole through Taimyr (Khatanga village) are planned to start this year.

Khatanga is one of the northernmost settlements in the region, more than 2 thousand people live there. Air traffic is the only year-round option for transport. Navigation is valid only from the end of August to the end of September. Today, tourists enter the North Pole through the Svalbard archipelago (Norwegian province of Svalbard), then fly by An-74 to the Barneo ice base, and then by Mi-8 helicopter to the North Pole.

Norilsk authorities plan to make their city a center of Arctic tourism with such an attraction as a 5.6 km staircase. It will lift tourists to Mount Schmidt, at the foot of which Norilsk began to be built in 1921. There are preserved the remains of coal mines, a narrow gauge railway, wagons carrying coal. From the top of the mountain there is a view of the valley and spurs of the Putorana plateau - the Kharaelakh mountains.

The Zapolyarny mine owned by Norilsk Nickel plans to increase ore production by 8.6 times to 13 million tons by 2027 due to the development of a new deposit and the modernization of the enrichment plant. Nornickel Group of Companies is the world's largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel. The group's production units are located in the Norilsk Industrial District, the Kola Peninsula, Transbaikalia and Finland.

On the ice floe of the NPP, which broke away from the Arctic

The Arctic Council, as an intergovernmental forum for cooperation in the Arctic (Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the USA, Finland and Sweden), was among the international organizations in which Russia took part and assumed the duties of chairman for 2021-23.

But that all changed in March 2022. The website of the organization's secretariat reports that "all official meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies have been suspended until further notice." On June 10, 2022, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Westerners decided to freeze their participation in the Arctic Council," published a statement of intention to resume the activities of the AU, but on projects in which Russia does not participate.

Then the Northern Flows offshore gas pipelines were still unharmed and it was difficult to even imagine that some AU countries would be suspected of sabotage, others would refuse to cooperate with Russia in investigating an act of international terrorism in their economic zone. The NATO alliance has long turned the Baltic region into a zone of military rivalry, and Finland's entry into the alliance increases the risks of a clash and forces Moscow to take countermeasures to ensure its own security both "in tactical and strategic plans," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

One way or another, Maria Zakharova in June 2022 announced that Russia would continue to work on projects of international cooperation in the Arctic. On the Russian website of the AU there is information that a "Familiarization trip of delegations of diplomatic missions of the Persian Gulf states, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region to the Arctic regions of the Russian Federation" is planned for the spring-summer period of this year.

It's simple - the Arctic does not tolerate emptiness and must be safe!


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