18.06.2014 – Round Table – Russia, Arctic, Asia-Pacific new challenges and prospects for cooperation

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Due to the constant increase in the interest of the world community to the problems of Arctic exploration and unfolded in this regard, diplomatic and information warfare Center for the Study of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific and Far Eastern State University of Humanities June 19, 2014 held a round table discussion on the issue.

The meeting focused on the origin and status of disputed issues of development and use of Arctic space and ways to resolve them.

Expressed the thoughts of my colleagues made it necessary to bring the main results of the discussion to identify the main threats to Russia in the Arctic, as well as make some suggestions on the issues raised.

And so, of course, the Arctic region is currently the subject of growing opposition to the leading countries in the world. Its economic and strategic importance is increasing with the increasing melting of Arctic ice and the development of processes of globalization.

Developing lately rivalry between states for natural resources has led to the emergence of various conflicts, including in the Asia Pacific region. In this case, they are all closely linked to the territorial claims of one country to another. These issues have also been investigated by experts of our Center. The conclusions arising from the study of the problem, unfortunately not very comforting: contradictions arose as a result of identifying new resource objects, and power options for solutions to conflicts can not be excluded.

In the Arctic, unfortunately, is also formation of territorial problems. And they are based on serious contradictions and not only economic but also diplomatic and military-political nature.

The diplomatic aspect of the problem stems from the conflict between the so-called sectoral division of the Arctic and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982

Russia is located in a very interesting position. The fact that in 1926 the Soviet Union has defined the boundaries of their polar domains. These actions were a response to similar measures by the United States, Canada and Norway. Thus, against sectoral division was not made serious objections. Throughout the centuries, no country in the world did not dispute this right. Thus, in fact Russia as successor to the Soviet Union won the right to fairly extensive Arctic possessions.

On the other hand Russia’s accession in 1997 to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which effectively limits the user rights of the continental shelf only obliges member countries over a ten year period to prepare and submit a request to the UN to justify the right to expand its zone in the Arctic.

The tragic historical events connected with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Yeltsin’s Russia, the Russian state diverted attention from the problems of the Arctic and the people living there. Study and further exploration of the Arctic ceased. Was closed by the Northern Sea Route, stopped working in the North a number of important industrial enterprises. As a result: the deprivation of human labor earned them the privileges and began the exodus. All this has caused great damage to the cause of Arctic exploration.

Since 1990 began a phased delivery of positions in the Arctic, which is still going on, despite the fact that in the “Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the period up to 2020 and beyond” approved by the President of Russia September 18, 2008 Arctic sector possession of the former Soviet Union recognized unshakable.

The first blow was followed in 1990 when the so-called has been concluded Covenant Shevardnadze-Baker. The second blow was the signing in 2010 of a new agreement with Norway. The latter became the actual repetition of the pact in 1990 while actually disavowed border polar domains in 1926, which has not been canceled and did not change.

In this case, the special representative of the President of Russia in the Arctic and Antarctic A. Chilingarov at the II International Arctic Murmansk Economic Forum called for the removal from the map of the Arctic polar domains borders of Russia.

The question is: Would not such statements by Russian officials starting point for the West in its attempts to deprive Russia of a large part of the Arctic? Especially, as mentioned above, there are already legal contradictions.

I believe that the leadership of the country’s high time to take a final decision: either officially abandon its polar domains and act in the new legal framework by organizing scientific substantiation of their rights in the Arctic on the basis of international law, or, yet again officially declare their right to preservation albeit truncated but still sufficiently large Arctic sector.

While it will not be accepted political solution, Russia will take their positions in the region.

Disclaimer of sectoral option could lead to the final internationalization of the Arctic, in any case, the Russian sector that actually will contribute to the complete domination of the US and the European Union, and in this part of the globe.

Preservation of Russian sector of the Arctic lands will require management to make serious measures to ensure, first of all, military security and infrastructure development in extremely favorable conditions in the North. In fact, Russia will have to return to the frontier of the 1930s. and begin development of the North practically from scratch. And there will be enough for it she forces and the main tools?

At the same time, if Russia goes on the internationalization of the Arctic, in fact, our country will open up vast areas for the expansion of the United States and the European Union, and I’m not sure that it will only be a peaceful expansion.

The fact is that while external calls to Russia’s national interests in the Arctic today reduced mainly to a desire to others, including non Arctic states to revise their favor existing international legal agreements and acts on the lines of differentiation of the continental shelf and on the borders of economic zones . There are, so far only projects transformation of the Russian Northern Sea Route in international commercial transit route, and the internationalization of law pilotage on this route. Challenged the right of the Russian Federation, regulate navigation on certain sections of the Northern Sea Route, etc.

However, since 2009 the United States and NATO countries, as well as the so-called “Neutral” European countries every year, and sometimes several times a year hold exercises in the Arctic waters involving dozens of warships and aircraft.

In an effort to weaken Russia’s military potential in the region, the United States at the same time increasing their military capabilities in the Arctic, increasing the military value of Alaska. The territory of that State are already located air bases, army and naval bases and 54 more others. Military facilities. Ground forces in Alaska includes two brigades (three regiments) has a very high strategic mobility: 4th Airborne Brigade can be transferred to any point of the Earth for 18 h., 1 st – 4 days.

It was in Alaska is the largest global positioning area US missile defense system, equipped with missiles GBI – 30-40 missiles. Aviation has more than 100 aircraft of which 40 advanced F-22 – the world’s fighter of the 5th generation.

At the same time the nearest base of the Russian Federation in East IN fighters with similar performance characteristics of the US is a 5 th. Km from Alaska.

Warships of the US Navy in Alaska are not based, however, in the Arctic can be used as a strength of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets USA. And this 14 nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) and 4 with cruise missiles (SSGN), 54 nuclear attack submarines (SSNs), 11 nuclear aircraft carriers, 22 cruisers, 55 destroyers, 30 frigates, 31 amphibious assault ship. If we add to this force only Scandinavian countries it will increase the grouping of 600 combat aircraft, 24 submarines and more than 30 warships main classes.

And despite the fact that under these conditions the Pentagon enough to keep in the Arctic operational missile group of three or four cruisers and four to six destroyers. Her total armament capable of effectively shoot down an ICBM, and their warheads, enough to guarantee the security of the United States against attacks from the north.

The US Air Force and submarine combat patrols operating in the area of the Arctic Ocean, also have high-precision weapons, which, in the case of military conflict, will be able to destroy Russian ICBMs, submarines and bombers that enables the application of “preemptive strike”.

US Department of Defense is also preparing land forces to operate in the Arctic. Since 2009, began to supply the troops adapted for operations in Arctic conditions multipurpose helicopters “Black Hawk”. Decided to build two new forward bases Coast Guard in Alaska (Barrow and Nome). The possibilities for additional patrol vessels. Enhanced ASW software and landing operations.

In the Arctic sector of the state border of the Russian Federation and in the border area is activated intelligence activities the US and its NATO allies. Over the Barents Sea recorded flying reconnaissance aircraft the US Air Force. Also in order to make reconnaissance trips warships and submarines. The jurisdiction of the intelligence involved and research vessels in Norway. The presence of foreign researchers noted in the throat of the White Sea – where Russia is testing its nuclear submarines. Most scrutiny is subject to the activity of the Russian Federation at the test site at Novaya Zemlya.

All this gives reason to conclude that the militarization of the Arctic will increase.

As for the real military forces of Russia in the Arctic zone is according to open sources, they are concentrated mainly in the extreme western part of the Russian Arctic, in the northwest of the Kola Peninsula. No units and army, air force and air defense to the east of Severodvinsk Russia in the Arctic has not.

The grouping of the Armed Forces in the region includes 1 motorized infantry brigade, one brigade of marines (virtually every team in numbers equal to the corresponding regiment of the Soviet Army or the US Army), 20 reconnaissance aircraft Su-24MR, 20 Mi-24 and Mi-8, 7 battalions of antiaircraft missile system S-300PS and PM. Also within 2 – 3 weeks grouping sun on the Kola Peninsula may be enhanced by transferring air and rail transport 2 airborne and air assault 2 divisions, 1-2 air assault brigades Airborne and 3 tanks and 4 10 mechanized infantry brigades Western and Central VO. At airfields Kola Peninsula may be transferred several dozen combat aircraft.

In addition, on the northern coast of the Russian Federation in the area of Severodvinsk deployed one anti-aircraft missile regiment of S-300PS. Airbase Besovets (Karelia) is deployed to 60 Su-27 and MiG-31.

Russian Northern Fleet includes 6 Ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) submarines 9, 6 diesel submarines, one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, 4 large and 3 small anti-submarine ships, three small missile ship 2 landing craft.

In this case, there is only a theoretical possibility of strengthening the fleet by switching on the inland waterways of a number of ships and boats from the Baltic and Black Sea fleets.

If we add to these forces and the forces of the Pacific Fleet it will increase military capacity by 7 PLA, 7 diesel submarines, one cruiser, 1 destroyer, 4 BOD 5 IPC 3 IRAs, 4 landing ships.

Note also that all the large surface ships are in Vladivostok, at a distance of more than 4 thousand. Km from the Arctic and will have to overcome quite a long way in the conditions of the war. While US forces even only Alaskan categories Army and Air Force, can easily take up the entire North-east Russia, where there are no parts of the Armed Forces. The nearest Chukotka motorized infantry brigade located in Kamchatka, the following – in Khabarovsk and Primorsky regions. At the same time Russia does not have the capacity to throw back the heavy compounds due to long distances, since transfer of heavy equipment by air is not possible, and the sea – will take a considerable amount of time and, more importantly, will be blocked by the US Navy, which, as shown above, is much stronger Russian Navy. Russia has the opportunity to transfer to Chukotka only part of the Airborne Forces and the Air Force, however, and this will make it quite difficult because of opposition from the US Air Force.

The US Navy has exceptionally high potential for action against the Navy of any other country. In addition, they have the potential, unparalleled in the world, to attack ground targets, even without taking into account potential SSBN related to the strategic nuclear forces (SNF) and for applying a massive nuclear attack by a ballistic missile.

US Navy ships can simultaneously carry 660 combat aircraft (excluding anti) and 8838 cruise missiles (not including an unspecified number of missiles that can be launched via torpedo submarines). The latter figure is constantly increasing due to the commissioning of new submarines of the “Virginia” and the destroyers of the “Orly Burke.”

Thus, only one US military potential is much superior to Russia’s potential especially if we add to this force NATO allies. Of course, we can not ignore the fact that not all US forces and their allies are in or near the Arctic, but even half of that capacity is sufficient to deliver a powerful blow to Russia. In the event of US Navy ships (along with strategic and carrier-based aircraft) massive preemptive strike by a non-nuclear KR “Tomahawk” on objects of strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation will be destroyed much of the Russian ICBMs, SSBNs and bombers, and without a global ecological catastrophe. In this scenario, the US strategic nuclear forces will retain their full potential. At the same time Russian retaliation remains of its strategic nuclear forces can be parried with the help of even a limited missile defense system.

To perform this task, American ships have to strike it from the Arctic, because here sweep using the CD “Tomahawk” most of the Russian territory (and most of the objects SNF). In addition, the ships are under the flight path of the remaining Russian ICBMs and SLBMs to the US (their trajectories pass through the Arctic), which greatly simplifies the task of defense for minimizing the value of the exchange rate and the possibility of setting fire to meet, not in pursuit. In addition, if the Russian strategic nuclear forces will be significantly weakened by disarming strike, and US strategic nuclear forces will retain their full potential, Russia did not dare to retaliate.

All this together is a serious problem of maintaining the influence of Russia in the Arctic. And it certainly makes the country’s leadership to take measures to strengthen the defense of the North.

So since 2008 resumed alert ships of the Northern Fleet in the Arctic Ocean, and the Russian strategic aviation for the year to 87 missions in the region.

Since mid-February 2013 the crews of naval aircraft of the Northern Fleet, as in Soviet times, once again began to constantly patrol in the Arctic Arctic Ocean. Their current routes been laid over the neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean and along the Northern Sea Route.

In the summer of 2013 ships and vessels of the Northern Fleet, as well as all the atomic surface fleet of the Russian Federation made the long trek to the Arctic, the end point of which was the island Boiler, belonging to the group of the New Siberian Islands.

On the return route of the detachment of the Northern Fleet worked speeding dangerous in the ice against parts of the Northern Sea Route, held a series of exercises.

In December 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin at the enlarged meeting of the board gave the order to create a Ministry of Defense in the Arctic military units to protect Russian territory. In turn, the Ministry of Defense had taken a number of decisions to protect the northern territories of Russia in 2014. It is planned to restore the Russian airfields on Franz Josef Land and the New Siberian Islands, and then the other runways in the northern territory, such as Tiksi, Naryan-Mar , Alykel, Amderma, Anadyr, Rogachevo, Nagurskaya. In 2014, also provides for the establishment group of forces for military security and the protection of national interests of Russia in the Arctic.

April 21, 2014 the Government of the Russian Federation has approved a state program “Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020”. According to this program in order to achieve the purpose of improving the level of socio-economic development of the Russian Arctic, the task of ensuring favorable operating conditions in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, including the maintenance of the necessary combat potential of troops (forces) general purpose Russian Armed Forces and other troops, military formations and officials stationed in the region.

However, in the present conditions of this, in my opinion, is not enough.

It is necessary, first of all, not just strengthening the Arctic groups, and the creation of a separate military district or command.

Secondly, carrying not just upgrading, and forced his options as a priority national project. After all, our partners opponents are unlikely to wait until Russia completes the modernization of its armed forces and technology. In addition to the modern conditions of military equipment obsolescence occurs at an accelerated pace. Therefore, there is required a breakthrough.

Third, the need to find a reliable ally to counter the expansion of the US and the EU in the Arctic.

And here, in my opinion, you should pay special attention to the PRC.

China is not being Arctic states, seeks to go, especially as a world power and a threat to Russia because that side is minimal.

The main reason for the gradual strengthening of the Chinese interest in the Arctic is definitely economical. First, China wants to secure their access to the Arctic sea routes that provide significant savings in time and money for the carriage of goods. Secondly, also wants to secure access to the resource base of the Arctic, including the rich fisheries in the Arctic Ocean, to the fields of rare earth metals in Greenland and hydrocarbons in Russia.

To defend these interests while China uses a diplomatic way, by signing numerous bilateral agreements. At the same time, the state is actively supporting private investment, including in the Russian marine projects in hydrocarbon production. Perhaps this is to promote the North China port leased in North Korea, preparing him for the role transportation hub for the future of the Arctic sea transport.

At the same time, China is interested in expanding international waters in the Arctic. Because it increases its right to receive the benefits of hydrocarbon and fish resources in the “common” waters. China, which is the world’s largest marine transport power, and receives more than 40% of GDP from the shipbuilding and shipping, very concerned that the Northern Sea Route runs Russia, and especially those high fees that it charges for icebreaking services.

Thus, China could become that power that will allow Russia to implement plans for the development and protection of the North.

To do this, firstly, strengthening Russian-Chinese cooperation.

The most important thing on the list of priorities of China is developing the Northern Sea Route Chinese shipping companies, which start to be given in the summer navigation 2013

Professor Lee ZHENGFA wrote in 2009 in the Journal of the China Association of Science and Technology: “When will the Northwest Passage (North-West Passage Chinese call it the Northern Sea Route), it will be a new” axial by sea “between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean . He who controls the Arctic route will control the new corridor in the world economy and international strategy. ”

But along the way, you must have a modern infrastructure with airfields, railway approaches to its sites, warehouses and the like. Therefore Beijing ready for a serious investment. Chinese investors have expressed their willingness to invest in the construction of a new deepwater Arkhangelsk Sea Commercial Port and Railway Belkomur (White Sea – Komi – Ural), which is 800 km shorten the way from Siberia to the White Sea.

In second place is to attract Chinese mining companies to the development of hydrocarbon resources of the Russian Arctic shelf. This issue was discussed in February 2013 during a visit to China head of “Rosneft” Igor Sechin. The agreements reached codified when the negotiations between Putin and new President Xi Jinping in Moscow “Rosneft” and CNPC agreed on a joint study of the West Prinovozemelsky area in the Barents Sea, as well as Russian and South-Medynskaya Varandey plots Pechora Sea.

In this regard, I think Russia should grant China MFN status.

Secondly, China has stepped up its activities in the Nordic countries and as reported in the open literature, not in vain. Denmark, Norway and Iceland have already recognized the PRC interests in the Arctic in exchange for investments. Thus more money to invest in the development of China Arctic infrastructure Scandinavia and Iceland, the stronger will be tied to the interests of the region and in this case Beijing will do everything to prevent the strengthening of the United States. In addition, it can create the conditions for the “separation” of the Scandinavian countries from America.

Finally, thirdly, in the United States is seriously worried that China will only strengthen its policy in the region. China in the Arctic are afraid of, anyway, is considered dangerous competitor. The former captain of the US Navy, a professor of international law at the Naval War College in Newport, United States, D. Dye spoke very clearly: “It would be wise to be wary of China – a country that is quite clumsy in bravirovanii its growing economic weight and sometimes prone to rude behavior” . Thus, it creates the conditions for Russia to weaken the opportunity for American expansion in the Arctic through fomenting conflict between the two world powers.

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