Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 281

Foreign & Domestic Discourse on the Russian Arctic Ieva Bērziņa The strained relations between the West and Russia regarding influence in Ukraine may lead to an increase in tension in other regions. The Arctic may become a potential zone of conflict due to its rich natural resources, new transportation routes, military significance, and unsolved territorial issues. The aim of this paper is to identify the governmental discourse of Russia’s top officials describing Russia’s state policy on the Arctic for foreign and domestic audiences. The paper focuses on the period from 2013 till 2015 when tensions in the relationship between Russia and the West increased due to the crisis in Ukraine. The units of analysis are public statements by senior officials of the Russian Federation in speeches and reports in the media. The major finding is that the Arctic should serve in Russian-Western rapprochement rather than becoming the next geopolitical hot spot. Introduction: the regulatory framework of Russian Arctic discourse This article aims to identify how Russian senior officials are communicating Russia’s policy on the Arctic, the main guidelines of which are defined in several documents. The basic documents that the Russian government mentions as being the key decisions on Arctic operations (Government of the Russian Federation 2015) include: Foundations of Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic through 2020 and beyond (2008, Septe