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Russian vice-premier calls for focusing on Arctic projects

The vice-premier urges to define long-term strategic goals and priorities

NOVOSIBIRSK, June 9 /TASS/. Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday that Russia should focus on its Arctic projects, which are urgent in any market conditions.

"Today, we should focus on those things in the Arctic, which will be urgent and relevant in any market conditions if we want to develop as an integral and sovereign state," Rogozin said. "Several strategic factors determine the importance of the Arctic region for our country. These factors can fairly be called our national priorities," Rogozin said in his speech at a plenary session of the Technoprom-2016 international forum of technological development.

"It is necessary to clearly define long-term strategic goals and priorities, on the one hand, and take account of changing external circumstances and the uncertainties, which may arise, on the other hand," Rogozin said explaining what should be done for strategic planning of Arctic’s development.

He mentioned three main uncertainties: first, the current restrictions on delivery of equipment and advanced technologies. Speaking about the sanctions, Rogozin said that there are no sanctions against Russia only when Russia lies on its back. Otherwise, they will always be. Rogozin called for perceiving the sanctions as bad weather. "We need an umbrella for bad weather but in this case [as far as the sanctions are concerned] we need our strong will," the vice-premier stressed.

The second uncertainly, in Rogozin’s view, is created by climate change, including the decreasing thickness and the dwindling area of the ice cover. These processes increase the danger of colliding with an iceberg while the defrosting of the permafrost zone on the surface threatens the already erected buildings and pipelines. On the other hand, the navigation period is gradually becoming longer and the climatic conditions are slowly becoming less harsh and severe. Third, sharp fluctuations of oil prices make it extremely difficult to make any reliable predictions. "We should bear in mind that the horizons of huge ‘exploration projects’ are incommensurate to the horizons of reliable prediction of market conditions. Full-scale and capital-intensive projects ‘in metal and concrete’ require some certainty in a long-term perspective, which a capricious, manipulated and timid market may not always give," Rogozin stressed.