New NDC Research Paper Series
Russia’s Military Posture in the Arctic - Managing Hard Power in a “Low Tension” Environment
NDC Research Paper 4: "Russia’s Military Posture in the Arctic - Managing Hard Power in a “Low Tension” Environment", by Mathieu Boulègue.
Ever since Mikhail Gorbachev’s “Murmansk speech” in 1987, in which he defined the Arctic as a “zone of peace and cooperation”,1 the region has been widely understood by coastal states to be an area of “low tension”. In other words, it has been seen as a place where great-power politics between coastal states should be set aside and replaced with practical, depoliticized cooperation.
However, the Arctic is not insulated from global security challenges, especially those around the impacts of climate change. “Arctic exceptionalism” is coming to an end. Despite its unique geography, the Arctic does not exist in isolation from the wider international context, or away from the pressures around the strained relations between Russia and the West.
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