‘Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic’

I have been writing a short review on the book “Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic” (Hoogensen et al, eds, Routledge: 2014), when a news item about President Putin’s address to the FSB personnel in connection with the “Day of Chekists” has caught my eye. Nothing new in the address (it was quite an odd coincidence that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was pardoned on that particular day), but the order to protect Russia’s borders in the Arctic with utmost diligence was reiterated – and I put this picture from RIA-Novosti to illustrate it. It was the contrast between this obesssion with “hard security” (which manifests itself in too many militaristic steps) and the acute need in addressing the human security matters in the Russian Arctic that has struck me. The book goes into much detail evaluating these needs and makes a useful contribution to research on environmental/health/societal security; I can recommend it partcularly to those interested in gender-realted and indigenous comminities-focused perspectives.
My concern is that every step in building the military presence in the Arctic, which has acquired such particular priority in Putin’s vision this autumn, undermines the human security agenda.

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