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Prime Minister Dm. Medvedev approved the Regulation "On the State Commission on the Development of the Arctic." Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin who is responsible for the military-industrial affairs was appointed the Chairman of the Commission. He will have five deputies, four of whom are Federal Ministers, the fifth - Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council. In total, more than 60 people will join the Commission, including representatives of "Gazprom", "Rosneft", "Transneft", the Ministry of Defense and the Federal Security Service. The Commission will coordinate the activities of federal and regional authorities relating to the socio-political, political and military issues of Arctic exploration. In addition, it is expected that the Commission will assess the effectiveness of the use of Arctic resources, as well as decisions on the development and implementation of priority investment programs.
Proposal for the establishment of such a Commission were expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2014 at Security Council meeting. Putin stressed that the Arctic traditionally "has been and remains in the sphere of our special interests" and that "almost all aspects of national security are concentrated in this region".
It is no coincidence that Russia has started to create a special military command in the Arctic zone. Closed cycle military camps were built on New Siberian Islands, Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land Archipelagos, airfield network was restored and the unified Air Defense and Control system was formed. A number of troops have already been deployed to the Arctic territories.
In recent years, Russia's Armed Forces carried out a large-scale readiness test for combat operations in the Arctic. However, Dmitry Rogozin, commenting on the event, said that Russia is not pursuing the goal of Arctic militarization. "Our task is the full implementation of Russia's economic interests in the Arctic, the protection of its unique natural environment, preservation and development of culture of indigenous northern peoples. Accordingly, the task of the armed forces is to protect and defend our interests in the Arctic”.
Several old projects for the construction of transport infrastructure in the North were reanimated. The President set the task to bring the annual turnover of the Northern Sea Route to the level of four million tons in 2015.
Russian paratroopers will build an ice camp on a drifting ice floe in the Arctic, said Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Meshkov, PAO for the Airborne Forces, on Tuesday, April 7. The single tier camp with a closed cycle life support system will provide "optimal livelihoods for troops at external temperatures below minus 50 degrees Centigrade."
The barracks will have lighting, electricity and heating systems. Each room will provide automatic heating system to maintain a comfortable temperature. The military used the experiences of the Russian Geographical Society Expeditionary Center for this project.
"The peculiarity of the camp will be a positive buoyancy when placed in the open water," said Meshkov. The complex will become a permanent military base for recreation, accommodation, cooking food and the preparation of equipment necessary for operations in the Arctic.
Soldiers of Ivanovo and Pskov Airborne units together with a contingent of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) of Collective Security Treaty Organization member states successfully accomplished group paratrooping on the drifting ice floe in the Arctic Ocean on April 7. Troopers landed just a hundred kilometers from the North Pole.
TASS information agency reported that according to high-ranking source in Russian Ministry of Defense a self-sufficient Arctic group of troops will be formed in the Russian Armed forces by 2018.
The Arctic group of troops is planned to build up both on the mainland and on the islands. It will include air force and air defense units of mixed composition. In near future in addition to first air defense division, another one will be formed. Besides, the airspace-defense and electronic reconnaissance units will appear and have a base in this region.
In December, 2014, interspecific joint strategic command "North" has been organized for coordination of military construction and activities of Russian Armed Forces units in the Arctic region. Under its supervision in the spring of 2015 the first of two Arctic brigades is planned to be formed with the staff located in the military township of Alakurtti ( Murmansk region). Currently the construction of military and social infrastructure is being completed in this area.
The second Arctic brigade will be based in Yamal-Nenets autonomous area, although the exact location has not yet been determined. According to existing plans it should be formed in 2016.
After military service in Arctic regions Russian army officers will be able to obtain a permanent residence in Crimea and other regions of Russian Federation.
During the talks with Mongolian delegation the Minister of foreign affairs of Peoples Republic of China Wan Yi pointed out that China is looking forward to the soonest realization of the project about establishing transport corridor with Russia and Mongolia.
According to the report of PRC Ministry of foreign affairs he also said:
"We hope that three-lateral cooperation between China, Russia and Mongolia will let to realize the project of international transport corridor. The construction of a new road, connecting three countries, will open a new channel of mutual cooperation. The road will cross the continents of Europe and Asia and will create a new platform for joint development".
"Mutual cooperation of China, Russia and Mongolia has great prospects for future. The establishment of three-lateral economic corridor is one of the key points in Chinese initiative “Economic Silk Road”. Moreover, the implementation of this conception correlates with Mongolian infrastructure project “The Steppe route” and Russian strategy of Euro-Asian transport corridor".
Presently China is working to fulfill two similar projects about establishing transport corridors: four-lateral with India, Myanma and Bangladesh, and bilateral – with Pakistan.
General Major Kirill Makarov, deputy commander of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces (Voyska Vozdushno-Kosmicheskoy Oborony, or VKO), told mass media, how the NSR security would be provided.
General Major Kirill Makarov told Russia’s Sputnik News that MiG-31 aircraft would protect the Northern Sea Route from Russian airbases in the Arctic.
"In Arctic, we place assets, such as the MiG-31, to detect enemy aircraft and fighter aircraft", Kirill Makarov said.
According to General Major Kirill Makarov, MiG-31 jets would protect both Russian ships sailing along the Northern Sea Route and seaports.
Northern Sea Route may serve as the shortest way for delivering cargos between Western Europe and Asia-Pacific Region. Northern Sea Route passes through the waters of the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Laptev Sea and Kara Sea. Sailing along the Northern Sea Route can not only reduce vessels transition time, but also save fuel costs.
© Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, NPO «Asia-Pacific Journal of Marine Science&Education. Editors Board».