Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 284

284 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Statements by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Senior Arctic Official Vladimir Barbin, former Senior Arctic Official Anton Vasiliev, and Russia’s Envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko were primarily selected for understanding the foreign discourse. Statements by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic Artur Chilingarov, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu were very much targeted at both audiences. Domestic discourse was identified by using the viewpoints from the Chairman of the Arctic Commission Dmitry Rogozin, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and sectoral ministers. The messages for foreign audiences were searched using the keywords in English, whereas for domestic audiences, in Russian. In total, more than 40 documents – publications and broadcasts in the media, and the speeches of officials – were selected. The selection of documents was completed, when no new relevant information for the period from 2013 to 2015 was provided. The analysis was qualitative and inductive. The analytical categories were defined through text analysis, based on the interpretation and explanation of the researcher. It is especially important to mention that foreign and domestic discourse cannot be treated as separate entities – they have to be viewed in interaction, because in this way a better insight into its political use by Russia is provided. Governmental discourse on the Russian Arctic Five categories of analysis were defined for structuring Russian Arctic foreign and domestic discourse as used by Russian officials: 1) Russia’s national interests in the Arctic; 2) international cooperation; 3) Russia’s perception of other countries’ strategies; 4) militarization of the Arctic; and 5) symbolic actions. The statements by Russian officials were arranged and analysed according to these categories. Table 1 at the end of the article contains a summary of the findings. Russia’s national interests in the Arctic The Arctic is a region of historical importance for Russia’s strategic development and its national pride (Laruelle 2014). In the last decade, it once again became one of the priority regions for Russia after a period in oblivion during the collapse of the USSR. The strategic importance of the Arctic has been stressed by several top officials. In 2013, V. Putin noted that Russia had returned to a very promising region – the Arctic; therefore it should have all the levers for the protection of security and national interests there (Forbes 2013). Around the same time, the importance of the Arctic was also underlined by S. Shoigu (Rossiya 1 2013). A. Chilingarov stated that Russia’s future was inextricably lin ked with the fate of the polar regions, and their development should be a national priority. This is mainly because, in the future, the Arctic will become the main resource base for the country – it is estimated that by 2050, the Arctic shelf will provide 20 to 30% of total Russian oil production (Rikin 2014). During the meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation in 2014 on the implementation of state policy in the Arctic, V. Putin pointed out the main steps to be taken to preserve influence in the region. He defined six key tasks: 1) to improve the quality of governance by establishing the Arctic Commission; 2) to implement the State Program of the Russian Federation ‘Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation for the period till 2020’; 3) to implement the international legal Foreign & Domestic Discourse on the Russian Arctic