The Russian Federation

Quick Facts

Arctic Territory
Murmansk region, Nenets, Yamal-Nenets, and Chukotka Autonomous Okrugs, Komi Republic, and northern municipalities of Arkhangelsk region, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Republic of Karelia

Arctic Population
2.5 million

Arctic Indigenous Peoples
40 Indigenous Peoples live in Russia. The largest include: Dolgan, Nganasan, Nenets, Sámi, Khanty, Chukchi, Evenk, Even, Enets, Eskimo (Yupik) and Yukagir

Russia and the Arctic Region

The Russian Arctic is an immense territory that stretches over 24,150 kilometers of coastline and includes:

  • The whole of the Murmansk Region, the Nenets, Yamal-Nenets and Chukotka Autonomous Okrugs and the Komi Republic
  • The northern municipalities of the Arkhangelsk Region, Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Republic of Karelia
  • The archipelagoes and islands in the Russian portion of the Arctic Ocean

Russia stretches over 53 percent of the Arctic Ocean coastline. Approximately two and a half million of Russia’s inhabitants live in Arctic territory, accounting for nearly half of the population living in the Arctic worldwide. Therefore, efficient and sustainable development of the Arctic is one of the key national priorities of the Russian Federation. Other key national interests in the Arctic include:

  • The use of the Arctic region as a strategic resource base of the Russian Federation, providing solutions to the task of socio-economic development of the country
  • Preservation of the Arctic as an area of peace and cooperation
  • Conservation of the unique ecosystems of the Arctic
  • Use of the Northern Sea Route as a national unified transportation line of the Russian Federation in the Arctic

The extraction of natural resources, primarily oil and natural gas, is Russia’s primary Arctic industry. The country is the world’s third-largest producer of hydrocarbon resources. Another priority area is the socio-economic development of the Arctic region in the Russian Federation, including improvement of quality of life for the Indigenous population and of social conditions for economic activity in the Arctic. Development of science and technology are key focuses, along with the creation of an up-to-date information and telecommunication infrastructure. Environmental safety and international cooperation in the Arctic are other priority areas for the Russian Federation.

Indigenous Peoples

Russia has 40 legally recognized Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. Of the 40 Indigenous Peoples, 11 live around or above the Arctic Circle, the largest groups including Dolgan, Nganasan, Nenets, Sámi, Khanty, Chukchi, Evenk, Even, Enets, Eskimo (Yupik) and Yukagir. Traditionally, Indigenous peoples relied on reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.

Russia in the Arctic Council

Russia held the country’s first Arctic Council chairmanship from 2004-2006. Throughout the chairmanship, Russia promoted projects in the following fields:

  • Enhancing cooperation in the field of international and communication technology, including further practical steps to develop the Arctic Information and Communication Technology Network
  • Protection of health of the people residing and working in the Arctic, including telemedicine and prevention of socially significant diseases specific to the polar latitudes
  • Sustainable management of natural resources and wider use of renewable sources of energy
  • Enhancing international cooperation in the field of environmental protection, including the ratification by the Russian Federation of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Sustainable development of the Arctic Indigenous peoples

Key accomplishments include:

  • The organization of the international symposium on prospects for and consequences of the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic
  • The organization of an international conference to develop a mechanism for the monitoring, prevention and management of emergencies in the Arctic
  • The organization of the meeting of Ministers of Culture of the Arctic Council Member States, resulting in the declaration stipulating the need for enhanced cultural interaction between Indigenous Peoples and national governments as an indispensable input into the sustainable development of the Arctic region
  • The sponsorship of a workshop in advancing sustainable development in the Arctic, which was the first workshop of this kind for the Arctic Council, resulting in the overall assessment of the activities and recommendations on economic and social dimensions of sustainable development

Russia holds its second chairmanship in 2021-2023. During its Chairmanship, Russia plans to focus on economic, social and environmental sustainable development in the Arctic region. Russia will build upon joint efforts with the Arctic Council States on the principles of international law and with respect and consideration of each other’s interests in various areas from research and implementation of environmental projects to the use of the Northern Sea Route.

Nikolay Korchunov
Nikolay Korchunov
Senior Arctic Official

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