Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic
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Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic

Edited by Leif Christian Jensen and Geir Hønneland

The Arctic has again become one of the leading issues on the international foreign policy agenda, in a manner unseen since the Cold War. Drawing on the perspectives of geo-politics and international law, this Handbook offers fresh insights and perspectives on the most pressing issues, grouped under the headings of political ascendancy, climate and environmental issues, resources and energy, and the response and policies of affected countries.
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Chapter 4: Oil-spill response in the Russian Arctic

Alexei Bambulyak, Are Kristoffer Sydnes and Maria Sydnes


The Arctic has long featured on the Russian political agenda (Wilson Rowe and Blakkisrud 2014). However, despite repeated political statements issued in the 1990s and early 2000s (President 2001; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2006; Zysk, this volume), it took time before these resulted in action. In 2008 the Russian government adopted the Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic up to 2020 (hereafter: Arctic Policy of 2008) (President 2008), later followed by an Arctic Strategy in 2013 and a plan for its implementation (Zysk, this volume). Two pillars of the Arctic Policy of 2008 are the prospects of the Arctic as a resource base for oil and gas (Article 6a) and developing the Northern Sea Route (Article 8). However, achieving these industrial developments sustainably will require an efficient system for oil-spill response (OSR) and search and rescue (SAR) – as also acknowledged in Articles 7 and 8 of the Arctic Policy of 2008. Due to its tremendous resource potential, particularly with regard to oil and gas (USGS World Assessment Team 2000; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2006; AMAP 2010, p. 17), the Arctic is seen as one of Russia’s leading strategic resource bases for the future (President 2001; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2006; President 2008; Government of Russia 2009a).

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