Why the Russians explore the Arctic

Nobody seems to remember that 75 years ago the ice-breaker Alexander Sibiryakov made a journey along Russia's Northern Sea Route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He was the first to get from Arkhangelsk, on the White Sea, to Yokohama, Japan in one go. This was the start of the active Russian exploration of the Arctic

The mission of the Soviet polar expeditions was to confirm sovereignty over the Arctic North. The Arctic was seen as a limitless source of natural resources and a strategically important route for redeploying naval forces. Later on, it was viewed as a site for nuclear experiments and ballistic missiles - the distance to America is shorter from there. At that time, the development of the Arctic pursued primarily geopolitical and military ends, whereas now economic considerations have moved to the fore. There is not much time left, so Russia is in a hurry. In early May, a research expedition set off on the nuclear-powered ice-breaker Rossiya for a journey from the port of Murmansk to the eastern Arctic. Led by director of the Ocean Studies Institute Valery Kaminsky, 50 geophysicists, underwater geologists and pilots examined the Lomonosov Ridge in detail. They said they had collected encouraging data.

Now, having escorted the Russian weather monitoring agency's flagship Academician Fedorov to open water, the Rossiya has made an about face and started a new journey. It will continue studying the shelf using a remote-controlled Klavesin 1R submersible.

The expeditions will only be part of the effort. A new drifting station, SP-35, will start operating. Samples of the shelf's soil will probably have to be taken.

Find more at www.en.rian.ru/trend/arctic/ Selection of RIA Novosti reports on Russian Arctic mission

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