Murmansk, a town on the Kola Peninsula 100 km from Norway, will be redeveloped by 2024, according to Russia’s state-owned TV channel. Zvezda.
Among other things, Putin plans to modernize housing and social infrastructure in the region where officials of the Russian Northern Fleet live, as well as create new jobs.
But Russia has other plans in the north. Because while the West wants to become less dependent on Russian oil and gas, Putin said Wednesday that a “new window of opportunity” is being created, according to Russia’s state-run news agency. tast.
He noted that inflation in the West is “passing through the roof”. And while he admits that Moscow is also facing problems because of the sanctions, new opportunities are opening up to the east at the same time.
Among other things, “providing energy resources to other regions of the world where there is a real need for them,” TASS writes.
Editor-in-chief Thomas Nielsen of the Norwegian online newspaper Barents Observer told Dagbladet that Putin’s plans to modernize military bases in the north do not come as a surprise.
– Russia’s largest military investment is in the Kola Peninsula, not very far from Norway.
He says that Russia in this region, in addition to the main base of the Northern Fleet, also has large arms depots and facilities for several types of weapons. Submarine bases along the peninsula will also be upgraded and modernized as the Northern Fleet receives new ships.
– strategically important
Nielsen explains that in recent years, an airstrip for long-range bombers has been established on the territory of Frans Joseph – a Russian archipelago in the North Sea.
– It is worth noting that there are large forces from the Kola Peninsula now taking part in the war in Ukraine, both army forces that took part in the invasion from the Ukrainian border in the north, but also the boats of the Northern Fleet that came by sea. So although the Kola Peninsula is remote, it plays a very important role in the Russian army, he says and continues:
Of great importance is also something that makes one suppose, from the point of view of the Norwegians, that Russia has a vested interest in keeping its cool in the North. Precisely because the region is strategically important, and it has many important weapons systems in Russia.
Miserable living conditions
Retired Lieutenant General Arne Bord Dalhaug also noted the importance of the Upper Northern District for the Russian Army.
– The Russian army has long prepared and trained units to be able to operate in this region to a large extent. It’s a pattern we’ve seen over time. There is no doubt that this is a very important military zone for Russia.
Dalhaug notes that Putin, however, has had problems with recruitment in the northern regions.
– The living conditions are completely miserable, and not only militarily. So there are problems with the presence of both the military and civilians.
Passage to the Pacific Ocean
Russia is also known to have an ambition to build infrastructure in the Arctic, to be able to export to the East, says Dahlhog.
– They see opportunities to be able to open the corridor of northern Russia and into the Pacific Ocean.
Thomas Nielsen says that Putin is expanding in several areas to be able to achieve this goal:
On the Kola Peninsula, arrangements have been made to expand the base of atomic cracking on the outskirts of Murmansk, so that the Northern Sea Route can be kept open all year round.
– It will fit well into the picture that appears in international trade at the moment, that is, Russian oil and gas is changing from a European market to an Asian market, as it appears now, he says.
The most expensive oil in the world
Therefore, Russia is developing the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreakers, says Nielsen.
But he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Putin’s plan.
Expansion in the Arctic, construction of new port facilities and oil fields in icy waters and along the northern coast of Siberia, potentially the most expensive infrastructure, and the most expensive oil that can be extracted in the world.
He points out that the area is also far from other residents, and there is almost no infrastructure today. Nielsen believes that such a large-scale development can be difficult.
Useless in the arctic
However, the big question is what the Asian countries will do, he believes. China and Japan will mainly support the projects financially.
– But it’s not just about money, says Nielsen.
It is also a matter of access to technology, because some of the large facilities in Siberia rely on French technology from a privately owned company led by Russian oligarch Leonid Mikhelson.
– He previously said that Russian technology is completely useless in the Arctic, says Nielsen.
He believes that if France is no longer committed to Putin’s projects in the Arctic, there may be problems.
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