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Expert: Arctic is symbol of innovations in sciences, ecology, defense

August 26, 2017, 17:38 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK

The upcoming Eastern Economic Forum due in Vladivostok on September 6-7 will devote a session to development of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route

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The Arktichesky Trilistnik [Arctic Trefoil] military base on Alexandra Land Island, a part of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago

The Arktichesky Trilistnik [Arctic Trefoil] military base on Alexandra Land Island, a part of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago

© Russian Defence Ministry Press Office/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, August 26. /TASS/. The topic of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route (NSR) now associates with a most important strategic direction of future and it is a criteria of all the innovations in scientific research, in the environment and in raising of the country's defense capabilities. Thus, major projects have begun in the Arctic. They were beginning of the NSR infrastructures, Doctor of Law at the Far East Federal University Vyacheslav Gavrilov told TASS.

The upcoming Eastern Economic Forum due in Vladivostok on September 6-7 will devote a session to development of the Arctic and the NSR. The session will be titled Development of the Northern Sea Route: From Words to Results. TASS is the event’s general information partner and moderator of the investment projects’ presentation zone.

Arctic trend as a criterion

The Arctic trend is not an important strategic direction and it has become a criterion of everything new in the scientific, environmental, defense spheres. This makes much easier the complex development of the North, the expert said.

"The problem of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route now associates clearly both by representatives of the Russian political and economic elite, and by people of this country with one of the most important strategic directions of Russia's future development, with growth of its resource, logistics and technological abilities," he said. "The Arctic trend is now a sort of litmus test for all the new and advance in modern scientific humanitarian and technological research, in environment and in raising the country's defense capabilities."

The public consensus regarding necessary complex development of the Russian North makes settlement of this task much easier from the administrative, financial, human resource and other points of view.

Economic development's trigger

With understanding of how it is important to develop the Arctic, the country has begun there a few major projects, which are, among others, directed at development of the NSR infrastructures and at keeping it busy.

"This tendency's result is beginning of many new Arctic projects - investment and infrastructure - having the objective of making the Russian Arctic zone a trigger of further development of the Russian economy, of using advantages of the country's geo-strategic position in its relations with foreign counterparts," the expert continued.

He mentioned as examples beginning of a practical development of the Arctic oil and gas deposits in Yamal and the Pechora Sea; construction of a new marine port in Sabetta for regular shipments of the liquefied natural gas to countries of Europe, America and the Asia-Pacific Region; projects on modernization and deepening of the sea ports in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk and other cities and towns along the Northern Sea Route, without which its development is absolutely impossible. Another important project, he continued, are plans to build the strategic Belkomur railway with involvement of a Chinese company: the new route will connect regions of Siberia and the Urals with sea ports of the Russian North-Western Federal District, thus keeping NSR busy in the eastern direction.

Legal aspects

In development of the Arctic, legal aspects are of major importance, and Russia lately has done great job in this direction, he said.

"In the past years, Russia made great job in the political-legal provision and protection of this country's interests in the Arctic, including its right for jurisdiction referring to the Northern Sea Route based on provisions of the modern international law," the expert said.

Russia has adopted changes to the current legislation regarding state regulations of commercial navigation in waters of the Northern Sea Route, fixing the NSR legal status and its borders.

Eastern Economic Forum

The forum is the biggest international communication platform for cooperation between businesses, political and expert communities from Russia, the Pacific Region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The event organizers report confirmations received from 24 delegations, including representatives of China, Japan, Australian, Canada and the US, as well as European countries like the UK, Germany and others.

In 2016, the Forum gathered 3,500 participants, who presented 111 projects worth total investments of 2.2 trillion rubles ($37 billion). The forum's delegations signed 216 agreements worth 1.85 trillion rubles ($31 billion).

About Belkomur project

The BelKomUr project ('Bel' stands for White Sea, called Beloye in Russian, 'Kom' stands for Komi Republic and 'Ur' stands for Urals) is a new railway route, which will connect industrially developed regions in Siberia and the Urals with ports in Russia’s North and North-West. The project will add to effective development of the Arctic projects and will form the international railway route across Russia between Russia’s European North and China, thus cutting by 800km the transportation distance for deliveries from Siberia and the Urals.

At the regional level, the project will boost up industrial and social-economic developments in Komi, Perm, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and other adjusting areas. As the route is implemented, another 39 investment projects will develop further the North-Western part of Russia, attracting more than 720 billion rubles (almost $13 billion) in private investments, and offering 28,000 new jobs. The new railway’s annual capacity will be 35 million tons.

Coal, mineral fertilizers, oil, timber, ores, construction materials, containers will be taken to the backbone ports of the Northern Sea Routes: to the ports of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Belomorsk, and later on also to Sabetta. The extra-budgetary funding of the railway construction will exceed 260 billion rubles ($4.5 billion). As the exploitation term (26 years) expires, the Belkomur railway will be transferred for further use to the Russian Federation.

The project’s investor is China’s Poly International Holding Co., Ltd, which is ready to invest in the project up to 5.5 billion dollars.

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