Restoration of the military base on the New Siberian Islands and the commissioning of the Temp airfield (Kotelny Island, Laptev Sea).
Economy or security?
The geopolitical importance of the Arctic is significantly increasing, and this is mainly due to climate change, which opens up prospects for large-scale economic activities in the region. In this regard, it is possible the aggravation of international competition for control over the Arctic resources and access to the region. NATO countries adhere to this line, but a number of non-regional states, such as China, Japan and South Korea, tend to combine the principles of cooperation and confrontation depending on the specific situation .
Russian interests in the Arctic are concentrated in several areas. Firstly, this is the economy, because the region provides about 11% of national income, with the ability to significantly increase this indicator in our country's economic system . A significant amount of hydrocarbons and other minerals  is mined in the Arctic zone, there is industrial potential, and the use of the Northern Sea Route, the shortest route between European and Far Eastern ports, is considered to be very promising.
Natural resources of the Arctic. Infographics infographics
Secondly, it's security. In the Arctic, there are enterprises of the defense industry, the base of the North fleet and objects of military infrastructure, in addition, the state border of Russia runs over the Arctic Ocean for 20 thousand kilometers. No less important, although less critical for the country's security, are scientific and environmental interests. In 2006, the Concept of Sustainable Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation was published, which defined long-term guidelines and principles of state policy in the region . The phased implementation of this document was planned until 2015, and it itself provided for the provision of stable economic growth and the creation of conditions for solving environmental problems. In 2008, President Dmitry Medvedev approved the “Fundamentals of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the Period Until 2020 and the Future Perspective” . This document formulates national interests that emphasize the importance of the Arctic zone as a strategic resource base, as well as the use of the Northern Sea Route as a national unified transport communication. The goal in the field of security was called to ensure a favorable operational regime, including maintaining the necessary combat potential.
New initiatives of Russia in the Arctic have been put into practice, primarily in the military field.
At the end of 2012, President Vladimir Putin declared that the Northern Sea Route is more economically viable than the Suez Canal, which makes it extremely important for our country . At the same time, the interests of many states, including non-regional, such as China, Japan, Brazil and India, converge in the Arctic region, and this forces Russia to act decisively to maintain control over a vast maritime zone reaching one million square kilometers. At the same time, the head of the Russian state has repeatedly noted that all disputes in the region should be resolved peacefully, and the Arctic itself should become a “zone of peace”. 
In 2013, at the international forum “The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue” in Salekhard, Putin said that Russia intends to increase by several times the network of specially protected natural territories in the Arctic zone, and also to ensure its safety there . More than 80% of Russian gas and over 90% of nickel and cobalt are mined in the north, this territory provides for the formation of 12 – 15% of gross domestic product and about a quarter of Russian exports ”.
In this regard, it is not surprising that the new initiatives of Russia in the Arctic were not limited to the installation by Arthur Chilingarov of the titanium flag on the Lomonosov Ridge in 2007, but received practical implementation, primarily in the military field. In August-September, 2013, the hydrographic vessel Horizon and the sea fleet MB-56 of the Northern Fleet, made an expedition to the Franz Josef Land archipelago to study the situation. A special detachment of the submarine forces of the Northern Fleet from Zaozersk, who was responsible for the security of the vessel and the safety of the expedition members , participated in the march.
And in October 2013, a group of ten warships under the flagship of the nuclear cruiser “Peter the Great” and accompanied by the nuclear icebreaker “Yamal”, “Vaigach”, “50 years of Victory” and “Taimyr” made the 2000-mile voyage through the Barents Sea, Kara the Laptev Sea and Sea, covered with ice . The compound arrived on the Novosibirsk Islands in the area of the Lena River delta, delivering to the Boiler Island more than 40 units of equipment, large-sized social and living blocks, and more than one thousand tons of materiel, property and fuel and lubricants. The hike plan also included a landing on the northernmost point of Rudolf Island on the Franz Josef Land archipelago.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin, “the operation was part of a large mission to develop the Northern Sea Route and develop the Arctic zone” . Viktor Chirkov, commander-in-chief of the Navy, said that “the expedition fulfilled the tasks of collecting information on changes in the navigation and hydrographic situation, proofreading maps and sea lanes, hydrometeorological observations, surveying geodetic points on the archipelago, and exploring the possibilities of navigating non-icebreakers in high latitudes .
This operation is unique in many ways: the number of combat units involved, the passage of the compound by a complex route that is virtually unattainable for other countries, the delivery of equipment and cargo to a remote base. It is noteworthy that foreign expert circles refrained from rational criticism and limited themselves to the factual side of the matter. Emotional attacks in the spirit of “restoration of the gunboat diplomacy” only confirm the absence of reasonable arguments from our opponents.
Unsinkable ice carrier
In addition to regular sea voyages in the Arctic region, Russia has begun rebuilding the Temp air base on Kotelny Island. This base will be modernized with the use of new technologies, which will make it possible to use transport aircraft An-26, An-72, An-74, and in the future, Il-76, in all weather conditions. Delivery of cargo to the Temp airdrome today is carried out by mixed aviation a group based at the Tiksi airfield in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue forum in Salekhard, said that this “airdrome is important as a support link for the development of transport infrastructure in the Arctic. And, of course, it will serve science as a base for Arctic expeditions and scientific research ”.
In high latitudes, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and swamps will be actively used, as well as telemedicine development to assist military personnel. In other words, all objects will be built up for long-term use with the greatest possible comfort.
The modernization of the runway at the double-based Rogachevo airfield (Amderma-2), which is located on the Goose Land, has been completed. It is likely that several squadrons of MiG-31 interceptor fighters will be deployed here. These interceptors will be part of the missile defense system and will protect the borders of Russia from an air attack from the north, as well as cover the nuclear test site located on Novaya Zemlya (“700 Object”). 
It is possible that in the coming years, the military department will also restore the world's northernmost ice airfield on Graham-Bell Island in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago . During Soviet times, it was an airfield for strategic bombers; the distance to the North Pole is 896 kilometers. At the end of the 1980s, exercises were held there related to the basing of the MiG-31, which could intercept US aircraft long before its possible approach to the central regions of the Russian Federation.
Russia still relies on the Air Force as an important element of showcasing power. In 2007, for the first time after the collapse of the USSR, Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS took off from Engels base to the Arctic zone. It is noteworthy that at the end of the 1980s, the number of such flights per year sometimes exceeded 500, but today the resumption of the Russian air presence caused a surge of emotions in Norway, Canada, the UK and the USA. But many military experts still assured the governments of their countries that Russia was not going to “attack from above” on anyone, but was using aviation as a political tool to designate its interests .
The Russian leadership intends to continue the course taken in 2008 for a permanent naval presence in the Arctic.
Strategic aviation of the Russian Federation today has X-NUMX turboprop Tu-63MS and 95 supersonic Tu-18 bomber; 160 medium-range bombers Tu-80М22 are also suitable for operations in the Arctic. In various degrees of operational readiness, there are air force bases in Anadyr, Monchegorsk, Olenya, Tiksi and Vorkuta. Meanwhile, these bases face such serious problems as an aging aircraft fleet, an insufficient number of refueling aircraft and the difficulty of delivering a large amount of logistics equipment to the Arctic zone.
Large ships for high latitudes
The Russian leadership, apparently, intends to continue the course taken in 2008 for a permanent naval presence in the Arctic. It is not excluded that three more ships can join the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great within ten years - the Admiral Lazarev, the Admiral Nakhimov and the Admiral Ushakov. The Northern Fleet also has the only Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, while some experts associate the possibility of establishing air superiority in the region with deck aircraft.
Undoubtedly, Russia faces difficulties in maintaining control over the sea in the Arctic zone. The fleet lacks modern frigate-class surface ships. And although the commissioning of eight frigates of the type “Admiral Gorshkov” and six ships of the type “Admiral Grigorovich” is envisaged, this is not enough to reach the Soviet level of presence in high latitudes.
Do not forget that one of the most important elements of the strategy of deterrence is the nuclear potential of the Northern Fleet. In Soviet times, submariners learned to use the features of the Arctic waters for covert movement due to acoustic noise and ice masses, as well as to conduct rocket launches, breaking ice at the last moment, which also reduces the vulnerability of the boat . Similar trainings are held today.
According to experts, in the case of the permanent presence of US Navy nuclear submarines in the Arctic and the deployment of sea-based missile defense elements, there may be opportunities to intercept our ballistic missiles, making it possible to deliver a “disarming strike” .
In this regard, the modernization of the Russian underwater nuclear potential plays a big role. From 2007, boats of the 667BDRM project are equipped with new Sinev missiles, which can carry up to ten warheads and launch from under the ice, with the result that submarines will be able to remain on duty until 2030. In January, 2013 of the year the new nuclear submarine “Yury Dolgoruky” with the Bulava missiles entered the Navy. In total, eight such ships for the Northern and Pacific fleets are planned to be built before the 2020 of the year.
For the needs of the Northern Fleet, the Arctic Center for Material and Technical Support was established in 2012, which supplies ships, engineering units and vehicles, as well as maintenance facilities, technical supply bases, fuel depots and other units in the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions. The personnel of the center counts at least 15 thousand people. It is about three thousand troops and more than 12 thousand representatives of civilian personnel and paramilitary security. In their daily activities, they use more than 150 support vessels of the Northern Fleet and around 1200 units of automotive and special equipment .
In view of the difficult conditions, a large-scale increase in military presence is unproductive, more effective is the strengthening of control measures over air, water, and land spaces, as well as the deployment of units to solve special tasks.
Most of the Russian armed forces in the Arctic zone are two brigades of motorized riflemen and a brigade of marines deployed in the Murmansk region. At the same time, the “Fundamentals of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the period up to 2020 and further perspective” envisage strengthening the coast guard and border control services, as well as organizing technical control over the straits, estuaries, and estuaries throughout the Northern Sea Route. However, in view of the difficult conditions, a massive buildup of military presence is unproductive, more effective is the strengthening of control measures over the air, water, and land spaces, as well as the deployment of units to solve special tasks.
Interestingly, in October 2013, special forces units of the RF Armed Forces carried out a number of operations on the Kola Peninsula. According to Col. Oleg Kochetkov, “special attention was paid to the conduct of hostilities in the Arctic, including in mountainous areas” . The servicemen practiced survival skills in extreme conditions, camouflage and sniper war. Probably, in the coming years, two brigades will be deployed in the Arctic zone to solve the tasks of protecting military facilities and infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route . In particular, in Pechenga, by the 2016, it is planned to deploy the 200-th separate motorized rifle brigade, whose servicemen are trained in a special "northern" program. This brigade will be equipped with military equipment and equipment for operations in the Arctic .
It is also planned to organize a permanent patrol by the coast guard forces of the space from Murmansk to Wrangel Island off the northern coast of Chukotka. At the same time, special attention will be paid to combating non-military threats - drug trafficking, poaching, illegal migration, and procedures for crossing the state border in the northern areas will be improved.
In addition, Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations under the “Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Preparedness and Response to Sea Pollution with Oil in the Arctic”, as well as the “Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Aviation and Maritime Search and Rescue.” To this end, the situation will be monitored regularly, including from the sea and the air.
Another difficult issue is training for work in the Arctic zone. The core of the Russian military presence in the Arctic - the Northern Fleet, will continue the campaigns of combat ships with the development of a complex of combat training activities in difficult climatic conditions and research activities in poorly known areas . One of the priorities of the Russian Air Force is to increase its presence in the Arctic zone of our country, which also means training crews for operations in difficult conditions .
The Russian Arctic is under close foreign attention - aviation, ships and submarines of NATO countries, as well as representatives of various scientific organizations and NGOs are actively studying the Arctic space. As our presence in the region strengthens, such activity will only grow.
At the same time, the solution of the whole complex of tasks requires the improvement of human resources in the field of maritime activities in the Arctic. Training is required for work on the shelf and in the World Ocean, as well as scientific personnel and teachers for higher education, specialists in underwater technologies, LNG technologies and a number of other areas. Today, Murmansk State Technical University, the Russian State University of Oil and Gas named after I. M. Gubkin and the Vocational Technical School FSUE “Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka”  are engaged in training. An interesting project was the creation of the University of the Arctic in 2001, which united 136 educational and scientific institutions in Russia, Canada, Denmark, USA, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden. Scientific and educational cooperation in the field of training civilian specialists may become another key to international integration in the region and serve the cause of the efficient use of its resources.
It is no secret that the Russian Arctic is under close foreign attention - aviation, ships and submarines of NATO countries, as well as representatives of various scientific organizations and NGOs are actively studying the Arctic space. As our presence in the region strengthens, such activity will only grow; therefore, Russian capabilities for preventing disputes and eliminating possible threats should be strengthened throughout the Northern Sea Route.
Russian-Norwegian naval exercises "Pomor-2012"
It should be noted that the Russian programs to modernize the armed forces and increase the military presence in the Arctic zone are not directed against any of the states in the region, although our foreign partners have similar concerns.
Thus, the Norwegian politician Torvald Stoltenberg speaks about the need to strengthen military cooperation between Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland . It is proposed to create a military group to intervene in crisis situations and conduct regular patrols of Iceland’s airspace. T. Stoltenberg considers it necessary to form a joint naval rapid reaction force, an icebreaking fleet, amphibious units, civil defense forces, cyber subunits and a satellite constellation by 2020.
The number of military exercises in the Arctic zone with the participation of foreign countries is also growing, while the activity of the United States, Canada and Denmark even exceeds the level of activity during the Cold War . The Arctic states are rapidly modernizing their own armed forces, including taking into account possible solutions to problems in the region. The situation is complicated by the absence of effective international security regimes in the Arctic, as well as the increasingly active behavior of extraregional states that will support those players who will offer them the best conditions for participating in Arctic projects. Therefore, Russia will have to assume the leading role in the formation and systematization of the entire “Arctic subsystem of international relations”, using its authority, potential and competitive advantages.
It is worth quoting successful examples of cooperation in the military field. For example, in the 2011 and 2013 years, the Pomor joint naval exercises were held (the first was held in the 1994 year). During the maneuvers, special attention was paid to combating marine terrorism and measures of a search and rescue nature. Russia could extend this experience of cooperation to all interested participants, making the Arctic really a “territory of cooperation”.