The Arctic touches deeper feelings in the Russian political mind than just greed for resources or fear of military threat. Beneath typically grandiloquent rhetoric, there is a deep sense of belonging to the vast cold and clean spaces of the Far North, often translated into the desire to own them.
This feeling informs many conflicting aims, which Russia’s Arctic Development Strategy 2020, approved by President Putin in February this year, seeks to tie together. Unfortunately, it lapses into bureaucratic platitudes.
Russia’s Arctic policy is neither a mystery of confidential strategic plans nor an enigma of secret business enterprises; it is rather a muddle of inflated goals and eroding capabilities.