Контуры глобальных трансформаций: политика, экономика, право

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Like all spatially delimited regions in international society, the Arctic is socially constructed. Political and economic considerations play prominent roles as determinants of the region’s boundaries, the identity of those states regarded as Arctic states, and the nature of the interactions between the Arctic and the outside world. From this perspective the recent history of the Arctic divides into two distinct periods: the late 1980s through 2007 and 2007 to the present. As the cold war faded, the Arctic became a peripheral region of declining importance in global political calculations. No one challenged the dominance of the eight Arctic states in regional affairs, and the Arctic Council focused on regional concerns relating to environmental protection and sustainable development. Today, by contrast, the ‘new’ Arctic is a focus of intense global interest, largely because climate change is proceeding more rapidly in this region than anywhere else on Earth with global consequences and because the increasing accessibility of the Arctic’s natural resources has generated enhanced interest on the part of outside actors. As a result, Arctic issues have merged into global issues, making the region a prominent arena for the interplay of geopolitical forces. Cooperative arrangements established during the first period (e.g. the Arctic Council) may require adjustment to operate effectively in the ‘new’ Arctic. Treated as a case study, the Arctic story provides an illuminating lens through which to analyze the forces that shape thinking about the nature of regions in international society and the role of cooperative arrangements at the regional level.

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The article provides an overview of the modern Arctic economy. It demonstrates that in the sectors of the economy that are associated with the development of natural resources (primarily mineral resources) and that emphasize return on investment, there is a growing role of new knowledge and technologies, and a significant increase in the role and importance of various forms of cooperation between the parties involved in regional projects. This approach helps solve the problem of attracting investment for high-risk, high-yield projects – however, the implementation of these ‘hybrid projects’ significantly limits the opportunities associated with the development of domestic scientific and production base. A direct consequence of applying this model to the development of natural resources in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation is a noticeable growth of the technology-intensive service sector, which satisfies the demand for equipment and labor by adopting foreign cuttingedge technologies and relying on the inter-regional model of work rotation. All of this leads, among other things, to the fragmentation of the country’s economic space (to a reduction in the degree of interconnectivity between the economies of different regions), as well as to stagnation and eventual collapse of urban-type settlements in the Russian Arctic.


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The article shows that the modernization of existing and the creation of new industries in the developed territories, and their infrastructure development are a priority in the development of the productive forces of the North, including the Arctic. The optimism about the Arctic vector of development, according to the author, should be moderate. The main directions of modernization of the existing economic systems are considered. These areas are associated with the forms of placement of production and settlement of the population in the form of territorial and economic complexes, geographically and economically remote industrial centers, and the periphery of the predominantly rural type. Attention is focused on the rise of the role of the natural factor in the socio-economic development of the Arctic and Northern territories and the need for interregional integration in solving the problems of environmental protection. The solution to the problems of the Arctic and the North is connected with the improvement of relations in the system of economic federalism. The main point here is the need for coordination of public, state, and corporate interests for the sake of improving the standard of living of the settled population, providing the national and world markets with raw materials.

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The paper contemplates massive transformation processes in the Russian Arctic zone, identified by the authors as the “re-development” of the Arctic, which integrate resource-intensive but necessary exploitation of the huge “Soviet legacy” and construction of the novel industrial and social facilities and infrastructure. The key role of Russian Arctic “re-development” as the most appropriate model at the country and regional levels is substantiated. The success of the Arctic development will depend to a decisive extent on the advanced revision of the basic provisions of the current state of industrial, energy, transport, demographic, etc policies. The paradoxes of the demographic situation in the Russian Arctic are considered and the directions of the organization of health care system in this macro-region are introduced taking into account: (a) specificity of the urbanized and rural areas in the Western and Eastern (beyond the Urals) parts of the Russian Arctic; (b) specific needs for medical service provided to miners and metalworkers, servicemen, sailors and shift workers as well as communities of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North. Peculiarities of interaction between the state policy and that of the big corporations in the Arctic are disclosed including those concerning climatic risks mitigation. Given this perspective the public policy measures to regulate greenhouse gas emissions proposed by the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation are critically assessed. In conclusion, the consistency of recent changes in the development policy in the Russian Arctic that should result in organization of a special Federal ministry for the Arctic is substantiated.

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A strong global interest in the hydrocarbon resources of the Arctic emerged in the mid-2000s, after the US Geological Survey published data on its petroleum potential. While oil prices were growing, an “Arctic optimism” prevailed everywhere, and it was anticipated that a broad-scale oil production in the Arctic would soon begin. At that time, a political aspect dominated in the Russian plans to develop Arctic offshore. Russia intended to prove that it was an energy power capable of establishing a new petroleum province in the Polar seas to replace the aging West Siberia.

But later the global energy sector underwent radical changes, and optimism was gradually replaced by realism. The decline of oil prices and introduction of anti-Russian sanctions contributed to the downgrading of the Arctic plans in Russia. Besides, the monopoly of Gazprom and Rosneft on the Arctic shelf hinders the development of its hydrocarbon resources because the state companies do not have sufficient competencies to operate offshore fields on their own.

After 2014, Russian oil companies began to revise downwards their plans of oil production in the Arctic seas. Given the sanctions and low oil prices, now relevant ministries also more realistically perceive the prospects of the northern continental shelf development, and their new attitude is clearly visible in their public statements. Thus, they indirectly admit that Russia is not ready yet for environmentally sustainable activities in the Arctic offshore. Actually, many experts and oil companies previously demonstrated a cautious approach to the possibility of the broad-scale oil production in the Polar seas reminding that the potential of the mature Russian oil provinces onshore is still significant. Now, the government makes a strong focus on the onshore alternatives to the Arctic shelf of Russia: the development of hard-torecover reserves, enhanced oil recovery, and support of small and mid-size companies, i.e. the priorities seemingly shift from the extensive to the intensive mode of the sector development. However, pessimistically one can recall that such plans were often made in the past and they remained on paper.

Ultimately, broad-scale oil production on the Arctic continental shelf will not begin before 2035. Russian oil and shipping sectors benefit from such time-out, because they receive a chance to train qualified personnel capable of operating on the Arctic shelf with strict adherence to the environmental sustainability principles.


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The Article defines the sectoral structure of the Northern Sea transport corridor, the set of the transport tasks provided by them - the international transit, import and export operations, and considers internal transportation. It is shown that in relation to the water area of the sector of the Northern Sea Route, both international and internal transportation (big cabotage and intersectoral transportation) can be referred to as transit. Transit transportation across the Northern Sea Route between countries in 2010- 2018 has been analyzed. The Article also defines transit dynamics and commodity structure. Dynamics of transit transportation of main types of freights are considered: bulk freights (oil products, gas condensate), bulk cargoes (iron ore, coal). The dynamics of Russia’s internal transit transportation across the Northern Sea Route have been analyzed. The article also analyzes the dynamics of transportation of frozen fish, the possible transit of which may prompt the creation of a year-round container line between the ports of Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and St. Petersburg. The author summarizes the results of the development of transit transportations in 2010-2018 and identifies the factors defining the demand for transit shipments of various cargoes. The Article also provides an assessment of the development prospects of transit freight traffic by international shipping companies (Maersk). The conclusion is that supporting national investment projects should be a priority when improving navigation along the Northern Sea Route – transportation of mineral resources and supporting mining companies. At the same time, creating a steady transportation system for Arctic mineral resources calls for the development of icebreaking, navigation, and hydrometeorological support. This will reduce risks associated with Arctic navigation and increase the appeal of the Arctic sea transport system as a whole. The Article identifies the following necessary conditions for the development of navigation in the Northern Sea Route: expanding the domestic Arctic linear icebreaker fleet; cen tral planning of sea freight transportation and coordination of actions of participants, which could increase the appeal of the Northern Sea Route, including its role for transit.

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Dramatic changes, mainly caused by global warming and globalization in recent decades, have been evident in the Arctic. The peace and stability of the Arctic, scientific research in the region, potential business opportunities and international governance have sparked widespread attention and debates around the globe. The joint establishment of the Polar Silk Road (PSR) is tantamount to international cooperation initiative between Russia, China and the related Arctic countries, which is intended to achieve common development and joint governance of the Arctic through knowledge accumulation, helps to promote interconnectivity and sustainable development in the region. As a part of China’s Arctic policy and cooperation between Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China focuses on the coordination of national interests and strategies of relevant states regarding development of Arctic sea routes and infrastructure, prioritizes knowledge accumulation and scientific research as the guiding principle for cooperation, promotes green technology solutions and humanistic concerns, and recognizes the PSR cooperation as a new growth pole for China-Russia pragmatic cooperation. However, due to fragile natural environment and political, economic and social sensitivities of the Arctic, significant interference of global and regional geopolitics, potential challenges of global environmental politics, Acknowledgement and capacity gaps between participants, economic and technological uncertainties are major challenges for feasibility and efficiency of cooperation, requiring more in-depth scientific research, comprehensive assessments and regular coordination and communication between all stakeholders.


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Global climate change in the Arctic has been unfolding more rapidly than in other parts of the world, and its impacts affect vulnerable northern ecosystems, health and well-being of the Northerners, economic sectors and infrastructure in the polar regions of the eight Arctic states. Consequences of climate change for human society are analyzed in synergy with ongoing transformations in social, economic and institutional systems in the Arctic region. Their cumulative effect exposes a variety of challenges for sustainable development of the northern communities, regions and countries; it reveals a number of uncertainties in the future pathways within the transformative context, as well as a combination of risks and opportunities for societies. It requires human responses and societal adaptations to consequences of the Arctic change. Adaptation to climate change in combination with climate change mitigation through greenhouse gas reduction turns into an important component of climate policies and measures of the Arctic states. This article presents innovative results of analysis of the major trends and features in formation of adaptive governance in the Arctic. It is based on a polycentric design, and particularly, on coordination of response actions at various levels, on interactions and networks of a variety of the Arctic stakeholders, on taking into account local environmental and socio-economic contexts, on combination of multidisciplinary and flexible approaches and packaging of governance mechanisms and instruments. The study analyses the major developments and innovations in adaptation policies and practices of the Arctic regions in N. America (Canada) and Europe (Norway). Its focus is on assessment of priorities, strategies and planning, institutions, economic instruments, climate services, application of struc tural measures for disaster risk reduction. It explores possibilities of regional exchange of best practices in the Arctic, and core barriers for success in implementation of adaptation policy options. The role of the Paris agreement in formation and structuring of adaptation policies and measure of the northern regions of the Arctic states is analyzed.

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ISSN 2542-0240 (Print)
ISSN 2587-9324 (Online)