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Russia's Arctic Expansion

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Old September 25th, 2014   #1
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Russia's Arctic Expansion

This has been going on silently for quite some time, but it's reached a new level. A new Military District in all but name is being created. It will be called Operational-Strategic Command North. It will include the Northern Fleet, and a number of land forces and air force units. A new set of bases on arctic islands is being built including a big one on the Novosibirsk islands.

A special new type of unit, called the 99th Tactical Unit, will mix coastal AShMs with Pantsyr-1 SHORAD.

OSC North will include the 200th Motor-Rifles and 66th Marines Brigade.

Добро пожаловать в журнал *остовского Орла - 99 тактическая группа Северный Флот
Добро пожаловать в журнал *остовского Орла - 5ый Военный Округ на базе Северного флота

I'm going to see what else I can dig up. I know they conducted several large scale exercises, including using nuclear icebreakers to lead VMF taskforces to the islands, and to conduct landing operations there. They can currently fly Mi-26s and apparently An-74s there.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #2
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This has been going on silently for quite some time, but it's reached a new level.
Skandinavians and Baltics have been reporting this over the last 12 months
It also ties in with the increase in Russian jets intruding over Finish, Danish and Norwegian air space

ie 4-5 times higher than 2012
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Old September 26th, 2014   #3
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Skandinavians and Baltics have been reporting this over the last 12 months
It also ties in with the increase in Russian jets intruding over Finish, Danish and Norwegian air space

ie 4-5 times higher than 2012
Oh it goes far beyond jets. They're working on the ability to operate mechanized and light infantry formations, as well as joint-service task forces up to and including the brigade level (for Land Forces) in Arctic conditions. The FSB just rolled out new Arctic weather kit for the border guards, and the Land Forces have an OKR Arktika going, which will produce a DT-10 based AFV for Arctic conditions. I don't know if they will retain MBTs (the 200th Motor-Rifles currently has a btln of them).

Even in Soviet times, jets and SAMs were deployed to protect from the Arctic direction, but this goes far beyond that. It looks like (to me) they want the ability to deploy boots on the ground throughout the Arctic, supported by every necessary support asset. We're not talking about a couple of airbases, or some radar posts. We're talking about the ability to effectively control the Arctic and it's resources through military means. It's a much bigger step then anything the Soviets were doing.

They're also working hard on restoring ports and airports in the Far North, to allow larger planes and ships to land and resupply. In other words they want redundant access to the Arctic, not just through the established North Sea Path, out of Archangel.

EDIT: Here's some material, in Russian, on the FSB tactical gear for Arctic conditions. Keep in mind, while in most places the FSB Border Guards are civilian-attired border patrol, in a few places they still retain the Border Guard Troops, like the Soviet-era KGB. I don't believe they currently have FSB troops in the Arctic, but the idea of developing a dedicated FSB variant of the Ratnik tactical gear for Arctic conditions tells me that they intend to deploy some sort of para-military element up there, not just ordinary border control.

http://twower.livejournal.com/931234.html
http://panzerbar.livejournal.com/1447803.html

There's also a document called "Foundations of Russian State Policy in the Arctic in the Period Through 2020". It mentions a dedicated military group there, a special FSB coastal control area... and among Russian interests it notes retaining the Northern Sea Path as a Russian national transportation asset. Of course the number one goal (it's even the first one listed) is to use the Arctic as a base for resource extraction.

Full text here: http://www.arms-expo.ru/news/politic...2009-11-50-00/

Or here: http://www.scrf.gov.ru/searchhl?url=...25BA%25D0%25B0

This document originally appeared on the Russian Совет Безопастности page which is the Russian National Security Council.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #4
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Maybe DND will move a little quicker to replace the Inuit Rangers LE 303s so we can protect our Arctic sovereignity. LMFAO.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #5
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Maybe DND will move a little quicker to replace the Inuit Rangers LE 303s so we can protect our Arctic sovereignity. LMFAO.
the russian expansion in the north actually has tweaked the canadians in recent months
there is some clear alarm as putin has made it clear that protecting russias artic interests is paramount

that puts the russians in border disputes with at least 3 countries
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Old September 26th, 2014   #6
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the russian expansion in the north actually has tweaked the canadians in recent months
there is some clear alarm as putin has made it clear that protecting russias artic interests is paramount

that puts the russians in border disputes with at least 3 countries
I look forward to people claiming in 2-3 years it's all NATO's fault.

Like lots of things, I'm curious how the Russians intend to pay for all this effort, but I've long since come to the conclusion they simply don't care about that.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #7
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the russian expansion in the north actually has tweaked the canadians in recent months
there is some clear alarm as putin has made it clear that protecting russias artic interests is paramount

that puts the russians in border disputes with at least 3 countries
Which 3? I don't think you could include Norway. Russia and Norway resolved their Arctic borders in 2010, apart form the resent issues the two countries have been co-operating nicely in the Barets Sea.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #8
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I look forward to people claiming in 2-3 years it's all NATO's fault.

Like lots of things, I'm curious how the Russians intend to pay for all this effort, but I've long since come to the conclusion they simply don't care about that.
What do you mean "how"? The defense budget is set to keep growing through 2020. The increases in the defense budget will be used to pay for the Arctic expansion, among other things.

Remember the grandiose plans of purchasing thousands of next-gen armored vehicles are essentially falling through due to delays. Realistically we won't see mass-production of the next-gen armored vehicles until ~2017-18. This frees up a lot of funds. The PAK-FA is also a little behind.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #9
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Which 3? I don't think you could include Norway. Russia and Norway resolved their Arctic borders in 2010, apart form the resent issues the two countries have been co-operating nicely in the Barets Sea.
Canada, the U.S., and Denmark have conflicting claims with each other as well with Russia, mainly continental shelf boundaries.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #10
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Which 3? I don't think you could include Norway. Russia and Norway resolved their Arctic borders in 2010, apart form the resent issues the two countries have been co-operating nicely in the Barets Sea.
the norwegians have withdrawn technical support to russian offshore platforms. over 50% of the tech on offshore rigs is "western" - and most of that is norwegian.

the russians have been progressively banning various types of norwegian fish over the last 6 months.

unfortunately these things don't get much airplay in the broader media, but the narrative that the russians and norwegians are humming along nicely is incorrect

in every monthly report I see coming out of the Barents, there are at least 2 negative reports on russian actions with a regional player, usually norway, but including the finns, danes and swedes.

the only thing that is still progressing without a hitch is the west (and japan) is still continuing to pay for and physically process the safe handling and destruction of russian nuclear vessels and weapons facilities. quite frankly we should be telling the russians to shove it and let them pay for remediating their own mess, they can learn and pay for creating their own problems.

you can bet that the canadians are having second thoughts about continuing to help.

unfort the russians know that none of us want them leaking their rubbish into northern and artic waters and are taking advantage of that concern

they're smart enough to build the weapons and platforms but not smart enough to manage destruction and disposal. that says quite a bit about their technical expertise and philosopy
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Old September 26th, 2014   #11
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the norwegians have withdrawn technical support to russian offshore platforms. over 50% of the tech on offshore rigs is "western" - and most of that is norwegian.

the russians have been progressively banning various types of norwegian fish over the last 6 months.

unfortunately these things don't get much airplay in the broader media, but the narrative that the russians and norwegians are humming along nicely is incorrect

in every monthly report I see coming out of the Barents, there are at least 2 negative reports on russian actions with a regional player, usually norway, but including the finns, danes and swedes.

the only thing that is still progressing without a hitch is the west (and japan) is still continuing to pay for and physically process the safe handling and destruction of russian nuclear vessels and weapons facilities. quite frankly we should be telling the russians to shove it and let them pay for remediating their own mess, they can learn and pay for creating their own problems.

you can bet that the canadians are having second thoughts about continuing to help.

unfort the russians know that none of us want them leaking their rubbish into northern and artic waters and are taking advantage of that concern

they're smart enough to build the weapons and platforms but not smart enough to manage destruction and disposal. that says quite a bit about their technical expertise and philosopy
There are second thoughts about continuing to help but as you correctly point out, they will just dump their crap into the Arctic Ocean so we pretty much have to help out.
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Old September 26th, 2014   #12
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There are second thoughts about continuing to help but as you correctly point out, they will just dump their crap into the Arctic Ocean so we pretty much have to help out.
If you're interested there are excellent books you can read on this:

"Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the North" by Marlene Laruelle

also:

"New Russia and the North" by Elana Wilson Rowe

Both authors are highly regarded within a number of Defence Departments


the last is 2009, the first is 2014

read the latter first and then you can start to draw a picture of progress

Colleagues tell me that they were required reading in some of the Baltic Defence Depts. Maybe the Canadian Govt analysts should be reading them as well (if they haven't already)

The fact that the CanGovt has changed posture and rhetoric re planning and exercises in the north would seem to indicate that someone has recently done some reading or had a reality check
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Old September 27th, 2014   #13
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Remember the grandiose plans of purchasing thousands of next-gen armored vehicles are essentially falling through due to delays.
Do you know more about this?
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Old September 27th, 2014   #14
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If you're interested there are excellent books you can read on this:

"Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the North" by Marlene Laruelle

also:

"New Russia and the North" by Elana Wilson Rowe

Both authors are highly regarded within a number of Defence Departments


the last is 2009, the first is 2014

read the latter first and then you can start to draw a picture of progress

Colleagues tell me that they were required reading in some of the Baltic Defence Depts. Maybe the Canadian Govt analysts should be reading them as well (if they haven't already)

The fact that the CanGovt has changed posture and rhetoric re planning and exercises in the north would seem to indicate that someone has recently done some reading or had a reality check
Laurelle's books are quite pricey. Any suggestions about where to get them at a reasonable price, tried Amazon, but didn't have her book, new or used.
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Old September 27th, 2014   #15
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Here's some food for thought:

Exxon, Rosneft Find Oil at Arctic Well - WSJ

I don't think anyone would argue that Russia has its eye on the Arctic because of economic incentives. And of course that's where politics come into play as well.
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