Russian press: pro & contra

Russia's Arctic expedition annoys West

Even the most fervent patriots would not dare claim that Russia now has legal rights to the North Pole and its subsoil resources. So why has everyone become so agitated about it? Russia has not made any official claims; and when it does, it will first send its scientific report to the United Nations, not start with a pirate-style takeover. The reason behind such an inadequate response is the West's growing annoyance with Russia, which they take no trouble to hide. Russia is seen by the Western public as hybrid between aggressive nouveau-riche at a time of primitive growth. The recent arctic expedition involved just about everything that the West finds so annoying.
In addition, Russia has shown how rich it is. True, none of the Arctic region countries are poor, but not all of them have the resources to organize an expensive Arctic expedition. Finally, Moscow has again reminded the West that despite years of depression, its technological potential is still greater than most countries. The Western nations are forced to take Moscow ever more seriously, however reluctant they might be to do that.

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Scientist: more harm than good

Russia's dive to the North Pole, collection of samples, and placing its titanium flag on the seabed, was a major achievement for Arctic researchers, engineers and other specialists. However, it has damaged Russia's chances of claiming the right to that part of the sea shelf, Leopold Lobkovsky, deputy director of the Russian Institute of Ocean Studies, told the popular daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "To prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is a continuation of the continental shelf, which would allow Russia to claim rights over it, we should study it at a depth of 5-7 kilometers, or better still, 10 kilometers," he said. "Samples taken from the surface will prove nothing." According to the expert, the expedition did not collect any new data to present to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

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