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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Annals of Russian Imperialism: They're going after the Arctic!

The Guardian reports:

It is already the world's biggest country, spanning 11 time zones and stretching from Europe to the far east. But yesterday Russia signalled its intention to get even bigger by announcing an audacious plan to annex a vast 460,000 square mile chunk of the frozen and ice-encrusted Arctic.

According to Russian scientists, there is new evidence backing Russia's claim that its northern Arctic region is directly linked to the North Pole via an underwater shelf.

Under international law, no country owns the North Pole. Instead, the five surrounding Arctic states, Russia, the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark (via Greenland), are limited to a 200-mile economic zone around their coasts.

On Monday, however, a group of Russian geologists returned from a six-week voyage on a nuclear icebreaker. They had travelled to the Lomonosov ridge, an underwater shelf in Russia's remote and inhospitable eastern Arctic Ocean.

According to Russia's media, the geologists returned with the "sensational news" that the Lomonosov ridge was linked to Russian Federation territory, boosting Russia's claim over the oil-and-gas rich triangle. The territory contained 10bn tonnes of gas and oil deposits, the scientists said.

Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper celebrated the discovery by printing a large map of the North Pole. It showed the new "addition" to Russia - the size of France, Germany and Italy combined - under a white, blue and red Russian flag.


"Frankly I think it's a little bit strange," Sergey Priamikov, the international co-operation director of Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St Petersburg, told the Guardian. "Canada could make exactly the same claim. The Canadians could say that the Lomonosov ridge is part of the Canadian shelf, which means Russia should in fact belong to Canada, together with the whole of Eurasia."


Anonymous said...

As far back as from my school age (50-60-ies) I remember the USSR Arctic borders always marked on the maps of the USSR. They were the two lines drawn from the westmost and the eastmost points of the USSR Arctic coast to the North Pole cutting out the sector of the Arctic Ocean with all the Russian Arctic islands inside.
This is the same aquatory the Russia is claiming now. The USSR and Russiia made most of the explorations and studies of the Arctic and the Arctic Ocean. The Lomonosov range was found and named by Russian explorers.
Russia is the only country to have a fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers and rich experience in Arctic navigation.
I think it is fair enough to claim, and Russiians will not mind if other Arctic coastal countries get their sectors of the Arctic Ocean on the same principles.

And I do not understand the attempt in the article to put Russiia to shame for that she is a "greedy power".

I want to remind your another story:
In the begining of the last century people discovered that "guano" (birds' droppings deposits covering numerous rock-islands in the world ocean) was a good fertilizer. Some smart people started mining that s*t off the rocks, ship it, and sell it to farmers. Because most of those "guano covered rocks" were "no man's land" the Congress of the USA passed the law claiming all those rocks with guano on them in any part of the world to be in the USA possesion and prohibiting the others from mining on them.
So, what precedent we have? A big and rich country was not ashamed to clame any small rock in the ocean if it was in nobody's possesion and had a piece of birds' shit on it.
How dare than the American russophobes to mock Russia for claiming aquatory which is close to Russian lands, was explored by Russians and may be rich with oil and gas?

La Russophobe said...

How dare Russians seek more territory when they already have the world's largest supply, and yet also claim that they are not an imperialist power and attack the United States for so being?

How dare Russians be so stupid as to think they can provoke the entire world without penalty, just as in Soviet days?

How dare you destroy milions of innocent people with your arrogance and greed?