I have a post on Russia’s Arctic strategy up on the Monkey Cage. Washington Post rules don’t allow the entire text to be published here, but here’s a teaser:
During most of the late 20th century, the Arctic region was primarily a zone of military interests, used by both NATO and Soviet strategic forces as bases for their nuclear submarines and as testing grounds for intercontinental ballistic missiles. With the end of the Cold War, the Arctic initially lost its strategic significance. In the last decade, however, thanks to a combination of accelerating climate change and a rapid increase in energy prices, it has become a key zone of strategic competition among a range of regional actors and outside powers. Russia has become heavily involved in these fledgling efforts to develop the Arctic. Russian leaders now primarily see the Arctic as a potential source of economic growth for the country, both as a strategic resource base for the future and a potential maritime trade route.
Russian actions in the Arctic are governed by a combination of factors. The highest priority is undoubtedly economic development of Russia’s Arctic region…. [To read the rest, click here]