A project for setting a ministry for the Arctic region – similar to the recently created ministries for the Far East, the North Caucasus, and the Crimea – is under consideration in the government, according to Nezavisimaya. Any bureaucratic analogy with the Crimean issue should better be avoided, but the article argues proudly that “Events around the Northern continent and its problems take such turns that Putin’s Arctic project in its objectives, the grandiosity of ideas and expenditures may become a continuation of the Crimean enterprise” (my translation).
What is known for sure, is that President Putin has issued a set of orders centered on the Artcic (as published on the presidential website last week), one of which instructs the government to take “additional measures towards preventing unauthorized sailing along the Northern Sea Route” (my translation). There are also proposals for supporting scientific research, including on the atlas of the Arctic, but those are certain to remain second priority after the hard-security matters. Exersises aimed at combatting piracy (the Greenpeace actions were mentioned specifically) were conducted recently in the Kola bay. There is also an extensive presentation of plans for rebuilding military infrastructure, firts of all air defense facilities, particularly in the Eastern section of the Northern Sea route.
The idea of guarding the Arctic borders Soviet-style is really becoming an executive order (photo from the collection of the Ryazan Airborne Forces Academy).