Polar Geopolitics?
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Polar Geopolitics?

Knowledges, Resources and Legal Regimes

Edited by Richard C. Powell and Klaus Dodds

The polar regions (the Arctic and Antarctic) have enjoyed widespread public attention in recent years, as issues of conservation, sustainability, resource speculation and geopolitical manoeuvring have all garnered considerable international media interest. This critical collection of new and original papers – the first of its kind – offers a comprehensive exploration of these and other topics, consolidating the emergent field of polar geopolitics.
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Chapter 6: We have proved it, the Arctic is ours': resources, security and strategy in the Russian Arctic

Andrew Foxall


In the aftermath of Russiaís symbolic planting of its flag on the Arctic seabed in August 2007, the Arctic was re-imagined by many as a ëhotspotí for renewed geopolitical competition. Together with Russiaís so-called ëenergy warsí with Belarus (2004, 2007, 2010) and Ukraine (2005/6, 2007/8, 2008/9), Vladimir Putinís purportedly aggressive speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, and the Russo-Georgian conflict of August 2008, the planting of the Russian flag became one of the most widely cited examples of a supposedly resurgent and expansionist Russia. Given the enduring Cold War-era legacies of militarization alongside the complex geographies of the Russian military-industrial-scientific complex, the Arctic was largely framed in the West as the site of a ënew Cold Warí, a ënew Great Gameí, and a ëscrambleí for resources. Developments in the Arctic since the ending of the Cold War remain largely peaceful. This is exemplified in the Ilulissat Declaration of May 2008, which declared the Arctic littoral statesí (including Russia) commitment to the legal framework provided by the Law of the Sea and to the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping territorial claims in the region. For its part, Russia has acted in accordance with its international obligations in the Arctic and, notwithstanding several ëbreaches of etiquetteí (Howard 2009, p._5) in the region,2 has worked cooperatively with the other Arctic littoral states.

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