Author: pavel

Clash of exercises in the High North

International Air Force exercises Arctic Challenge 2015 are going on in the High North with Norway as the lead nation and 9 states (including, remarkably, Switzerland) participating with squadrons of various jet fighters (as well as NATO AWACS E3 planes). Russia found it necessary to respond with snap military exercises of its own, engaging not only… Read more »

Rogozin’s escapade grows into a political crisis

It was entirely possible for the Russian Foreign Ministry to downplay the minor scandal around Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin surprise visit to Spitsbergen, but instead the choice was for making a full-blown crisis. It was quite embarrassing for the Norwegian authorities that they learned about Rogozin’s arrival to Longyearbyen and excursion to Barentsburg from… Read more »

Everybody is afraid of our vastness

Not a word about the Arctic could be found in the transcript of President Vladimir Putin annual Q&A session, perhaps except the rather abstract assertion that “everybody is afraid of our vastness”  (, April 16). It is certainly not the vastness as such, but rather the vast increase of Russian military activities that prompted the five… Read more »

Discussing the Arctic matters in Ottawa

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu provided a useful point of departure for my presentation and discussions in Ottawa on current Arctic matters, asserting that Russia is facing “a wide range of potential security challenges and threats” in the Arctic and is ready to use military means for countering those. It is certainly not the first… Read more »

Rogozin for the Arctic viceroy?

It has become clear that the plan for establishing a super-ministry for the Arctic has been reduced to setting a government commission, which according to some lobbyists in the Duma, would put security first (Arctic-Info, February 11). Kommersant (February 6) reported that Dmitry Rogozin is approved as the head of this commission, and RIA-Novosti (6… Read more »

Discussing Arctic issues in Brussels

Last Thursday (as it happens, right before the terror alert), a brainstorming session on Arctic matters was organized by the EU Institute for Security Studies, and I am glad to be a part of this undertaking. Juha Jokela from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs is in charge of this project, and the output is… Read more »

The Arctic comes into the new Russian military doctrine

  The new military doctrine approved by President Putin on December 26, 2014 is actually not that new; Defense Minister Shoigu opted for limiting his mark to a few minor and symbolic revisions, against many far-reaching statements on the background of the Ukraine conflict. One of the changes that has attracted attention is the inclusion… Read more »

Denmark challenges Russia with the Arctic claim

Denmark (together with Greenland) delivered on Monday the claim for expanding its continental shelf in the Arctic by 895,541 square km to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the impeccably prepared submission is filed on the UN CLCS website). The statement from the Danish Foreign Ministry is concise and precise –… Read more »

New Arctic ministry to answer for the void in Russia’s Arctic policy

Rather uncharacteristically, President Vladimir Putin did not mention the Arctic at all at the meeting of the Russian Georgraphic Society (he made himself the chairman of its board five years ago) – or at the gathering of the Russian Popular Front (mobilization against Western sanctions was the main theme). On the background of this lack of attention,… Read more »

Putin steals the Asia-Europe show – and brings big disappointment

  The most recent Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit attracted a sizeable crowd of world leaders to Milan last week (October 16–17), but the formal agenda was overtaken by the efforts to manage the violent conflict between Russia and Ukraine and facilitate dialogue between presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko. The European Union sought to deploy… Read more »