The increased availability of the northern seas has two positive aspects for us. Firstly, the Northern Sea Route increases its importance as a transport artery of the international level, and in the future it becomes a strategically important maritime transport route. Secondly, new fields are being opened for development. And not only hydrocarbon, which is customarily spoken of in the context of the development of the sea shelf. The northern deposits of rare and rare earth metals, minerals and ores of strategic importance are currently very limited. This is due to their inaccessibility. For the arrangement of deposits, their supply and transportation of products, the sea route is preferable and opens up completely different possibilities.
Based on this, many are beginning to say that the present century will become the “century of the Arctic”, meaning its transformation into one of the most significant regions of the world. There is another reason for this definition. The fact is that the southern transport routes (both sea and land), as well as raw materials in the near future will be in a zone of instability and armed conflicts of varying intensity. Even the most optimistic assessments of military threats make it impossible to consider neither the African continent, nor the Middle East, nor Central Asia, nor the Southeast, as a zone of peace and stability. The forecasts may be different, but almost any of them suggest a series of internal and interstate conflicts on the vast spaces of the Eastern Hemisphere. And such conflicts will not allow us to consider the most important sources of raw materials and transport communications for the international economy to be reliable. And already in the very near future.
Whereas the Arctic, becoming more accessible, retains its safety and reliability. Mainly because a large part of the Arctic is Russia. And an increase in the value of the Arctic region automatically means an increase in the value of Russia.
Understanding of this circumstance is not only with us. As Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov brilliantly remarked in a letter to Euler: “If something is added to something, then it is taken away from something else.” This is also true in international politics, where an increase in the influence and weight of some states is proportional to a decrease in the influence and weight of others. And it would be strange if the states with the power without pity and struggle would part with it. Thus, the United States largely retains its influence in the world of control over the world economic centers and transport routes linking them. The displacement of transport routes and sources of raw materials should be reflected in efforts to control them. And such efforts are being made.
Released by US President's 9 on January 2009, "US Regional Policy in the Arctic"Also proceeds from the strategic importance of the Arctic in the near future.
The document is interesting enough to give him attention. The essence of the document is well reflected in the formulation of national interests in the region: “The United States has (in the Arctic, approx. A.G.) broad, fundamental interests in national security and ready to act independently, or in alliance with other states to protect these interests. These interests include issues such as missile defense and early warning, the deployment of sea and air systems for strategic maritime transport (troop movements, approx. AG), strategic deterrence, maritime presence, maritime operations, and ensuring freedom of navigation and flight ". It is easy to see that these interests include non-military forms of economic activity - the last item in the long list. But more about that separately.
Since this is a directive, that is, an indication of action - the measures outlined in it for gaining control over the Arctic should be viewed not as analytical considerations, but as an order. They are quite clearly stated in the document. It operates with an understanding of climate change and the associated strengthening of human economic activity (namely, mining and transportation of goods). The directive calls for increasing the US presence in the region, strengthening military capabilities and establishing international management over economic activities in the Arctic - paragraph “III.C” is entitled: “International Management”.
Here it is necessary to clarify that the difference between sovereign and international management is about the same as the difference between its own and collective-farm cows. In principle, after the adoption of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, there are some prerequisites for the “socialization” of our cow, namely, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and offshore natural resources. The fact is that the convention limits the ownership of the Arctic states to the 200-mile zone. And although Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway have adopted domestic laws that consider part of the Arctic seas to be territorial or internal waters, the US and the EU do not recognize these laws, advocating the principle of free navigation throughout the Arctic Ocean. By the way, the UN Convention has not been ratified by them, that is, even curtailed possessions of subarctic states are not recognized. And the position with regard to the Arctic is the collective use of transport routes and the “ocean co-management” of resources, that is, the resolution of all issues by a supranational authority. As such, the United States wants to see the Arctic
Understanding this, Russia considers the Arctic Council, which is in the minority, as a body that deals with nothing more than environmental issues. His actions aimed at consolidating the sovereign control of the Russian Arctic are carried out through the UN. In October, another high-latitude Arktika-2012 expedition ended in order to substantiate the external borders of the Russian continental shelf and to submit a new application to the UN Commission on the Law of the Sea to expand its economic zone. Let me remind you that according to the UN convention, the shelf is a continuation of the state’s territory. And the evidence that our shelf extends far beyond the 200-mile zone will be the basis for recognizing Russia's rights to the offshore area. The previous application was rejected because the data collected in previous expeditions was insufficient. In order for the new scientific data to be sufficiently complete, this time, the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research (GUGI) of the Russian Ministry of Defense took part in the expedition. Instead of civilian underwater vehicles, specialized naval vehicles were engaged in work at the bottom. The expedition was provided by the Dickson and Captain Dranitsyn icebreakers. The new application will go to the UN Commission after processing the expedition materials.
This is the legal side of the sovereign right of Russia to dispose of its part of the Arctic. Potentially, Americans are going to challenge this right. The report of the special commission is also 2001 of the year, entitled “The Arctic Ocean and Climate Change: Scenario for the US Navy", It is directly indicated that:" The US continues to insist that the ice-covered straits of the NSR are international and constitute a transit transport entity; Russia continues to consider the straits as its internal waters. ... Russia and Canada follow the policy that all navigable straits in the Northern Sea Route are under their exclusive control. The United States has a different approach to determining the status of these straits ... As these straits become increasingly involved in international traffic, conflicts are likely to occur. " From this it follows that the very desire of Russia and Canada to maintain transport routes under their control is considered “conflicting”, while the United States wants to claim an exclusive role in this matter.
It will not be superfluous to note here that the United States is also challenging the possession of Canada’s Northwest Passage (FFP) off the coast of Alaska. As long as we have a potential ally on this. True, if the US ratifies the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and gets its 200-mile zone, Canada will have no choice but to integrate into the system of international management of the Arctic. So you have to rely, as always, on yourself.
So, claims to our Arctic should be considered almost a fait accompli. But, as can be seen from the directive "US Regional Policy in the Arctic", Americans do not rely on legal methods of their implementation alone. Any claims mean something when reinforced by the ability to uphold them. And here we should pay attention to the power component of American northern politics. The liberation of the Arctic from ice makes its water area more accessible to surface naval forces. The Americans and their NATO allies definitely want to take advantage of this. American presence fleet in the north, it is constantly increasing, even plans to deploy ship-based missile defense elements in the Barents Sea. The number and scale of NATO exercises in the northern latitudes is growing, and an increasing number of European alliance members are being attracted to them. The Arctic military bases are expanding and modernizing, and military equipment and NATO personnel are being prepared for operations in the north.
True, all these measures have purely geographical restrictions that give us some advantage. NATO forces can operate in the Arctic from bases in Alaska and Norway, while we have the opportunity to use our entire coast. The surface fleet will for an indefinitely long time be limited in its actions by the ice cover and its seasonal changes. Aviationoperating from remote bases is in obviously worse conditions than the continental one, which, moreover, is provided with support for air defense and fleet facilities. Only in order to develop these military advantages, that is, to secure our sovereign rights against encroachments, with the ability to defend them by force, we need to return our military potential to the Arctic.
Actually, this is provided for by a document called the “Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic”. The current defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, is most directly related to some steps aimed at restoring the military presence in the North. Even as Minister of Emergency Situations, he was entrusted with the creation along the route of the Northern Sea Route ten rescue centers provided with equipment and personnel for operations on land, in airspace and at sea. Now these same centers will become the basis for the future facilities of the fleet forces and the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia. In the future, they will also be able to become full-fledged military bases, and not points of temporary accommodation and logistics. Just linger with their development is not worth it, because the main problem of the return of our military presence to the North is the lack of full-fledged bases and infrastructure. If they are, then the question of technology and personnel for the Arctic group of troops will be much easier than it looks now.
So, the list of new bases is likely to coincide with the rescue centers: in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar, Vorkuta, Nadym, Dudinka, Tiksi, Pevek, Provideniya Bay and Anadyr. Not for nothing, in the newly approved list, which also consists of ten fleet-based and border service points, they are called dual-use objects. The fact that the EMERCOM troops became the pioneers (and these are precisely the troops structurally subordinate to the EMERCOM) is perhaps even good - Sergey Shoigu can use the experience of the EMERCOM of Russia in difficult climatic conditions for the Armed Forces.
The question of aircraft basing is currently being resolved in a rather elegant way. Recently, the entire aerodrome network of the country has become a dual-use network. That is, purely civilian airfields - no longer. Civilian airstrips, important for the Air Force, are being modernized and often restored, parking areas and maintenance facilities are expanded, navigation equipment and communications facilities are updated. First of all, as you might guess, all this is done in the North.
The situation with the fleet's combat composition, which, as we know, cannot be updated and enlarged in a couple of years, is somewhat more complicated. Even with great funding. But this problem is being solved. It should be borne in mind that in order to preserve the sovereignty of our North, it is the forces of the fleet that are of the greatest importance. They allow you to block the passage of potential enemy forces through the straits, move the zone of destruction far into the sea and ensure the combat stability of the entire northern grouping of troops.
To supply forces in the Arctic, 14 November laid the first of a series of logistics support ships of the 23120 project - the Elbrus. It is intended for loading, storage, transportation and transfer of cargo to the coast, surface ships and submarines, as well as for towing and emergency rescue operations. Such ships are essential for the supply of northern bases and support points. For the transfer of troops and equipment in the North, the armament transport is being completed according to a modified project.Ivan Gren". Initially, he was to become a large landing ship of the marines. But later his project was changed with an emphasis on the transport function instead of landing operations, and so far they have stopped laying the other ships of this series. It's a pity. It is the Marines who seem to be the most mobile and adapted for operations in the coastal zone by the armed forces. Therefore, in my opinion, we should think about increasing the number of marines in the north.
The land component of the Arctic grouping is still the slowest. The plans include the creation of so-called "Arctic Brigades", which will have to differ in both structural and technical equipment. They will have to act in the specific conditions of the Far North, having great opportunities for a wide maneuver, with coverage of large and impassable Arctic spaces. For example, approximately so и so may look transport vehicles for them. It is expected that the first to be transferred to the arctic technique 200-i motorized rifle brigade, located in the Murmansk region.
This should be considered correct, since it is in the western direction that the NATO military bases and places of permanent deployment of land forces of the potential enemy are located closest to us. However, in my humble opinion, one brigade in the Kola Peninsula is not enough, even taking into account the existing forces of the marines and other units. Americans are now making a lot of efforts to attract Sweden and Finland (non-NATO members) not only to work actively in the Arctic Council, but also for joint exercises. Naturally, this does not mean that in the event of a hypothetical conflict situation, these countries will act together with NATO forces. But the presence of a powerful land group will certainly be important for these countries to make a decision on indirect participation on one of the parties, I repeat, until a hypothetical conflict.
In addition, we must not forget that NATO has considerable internal forces in this area, which can quickly increase by sea and air transfer. Let me remind you that in the directive "Regional Policy of the United States in the Arctic" strategic troop movements are named among the key tasks that ensure the national interests of the United States in the region. Therefore, it is precisely in the western direction that we need to have a grouping of forces of various kinds that can prevent sea and air blockade (with which claims to our North can begin), prevent the transport of troops and strikes against strategic targets in the event of a conflict. The ground forces must be able to prevent any penetration into the territory of Russia, to ensure the security of the bases of the Air Force, Air Defense and Fleet forces. Based on these tasks, the construction of the Arctic grouping should be planned.