Thursday, October 11, 2018

"New state commission takes on Putin’s big plan for the Arctic"

I've mentioned that President Putin takes a personal interest in Russia's Arctic doings. Here are a couple posts, almost 11 years apart:

March 29, 2018
Russian navy’s Arctic patrol vessels suffer delays of 3-4 years
President Putin almost looks upon the Arctic as his pet project, a really large pet project but his, and the fact the government budget can't come up with the loot to pay for the ships is an intriguing insight into Russia's true financial state. I guess even the Autocrat of all the Russias President of Russia has limits....
August 5, 2007
Russia and the Arctic
From the Economist:
RUSSIA’s foray into the Arctic is an audacious geopolitical adventure, as popular at home as it is troubling for outsiders. At stake are the region’s natural riches, until now frozen both in law and in nature. But global warming is making them look more accessible. They may include 10 billion tonnes of oil and gas deposits, tin, manganese, gold, nickel, lead, platinum and diamonds, plus fish and perhaps even lucrative freight routes. Exploiting them will be technically tricky, and is probably decades away. But as the ice melts, the row is hotting up about who owns what’s underneath it.

...Even more startling, though, was Russia’s rhetoric. “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence,” said Mr Chilingarov, a charismatic figure whom President Vladimir Putin has named as “presidential envoy” to the Arctic. “This is like placing a flag on the moon” said Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute.
The stunt has no legal force. But it still scandalised Canada’s foreign minister, Peter MacKay. “This isn’t the 15th century,” he complained. “You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory’.”...
And the latest, from the Barents Observer, October 8:

Russia’s new state Commission for the Arctic will have to follow up the President’s new top priorities, including the boost of goods shipments on the Northern Sea Route to 80 million tons by year 2024.
It is Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev who is commissioned to lead the work with the President’s priorities for the Arctic. Trutnev, who is also responsible for developments in the Russian Far East, last week assembled government ministers and regional leaders for a first meeting the country’s new Arctic Commission.

I expect all regional authorities, government agencies and ministries to understand their responsibilities for issues related to Arctic development, Trutnev made clear as he on 4th October opened the meeting.

The commission was formerly chaired by Dmitry Rogozin, the controversial deputy PM who is now head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. With the government reshuffle that followed the reelection of Putin, the former Arctic Commission was dissolved. Even the commission website was closed.

It will be President Putin’s decree on the increase of annual Northern Sea Route shipping to 80 million tons by year 2024 that will be the main priority for the new commission. The ambitious goal for Arctic shipping is laid down in Vladimir Putin’s May Decree, the document which outlines the top strategic development objectives for his fourth term in office.

According to Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin, it is liquified natural gas and coal that will constitute the lion’s share of the Arctic shipping boom.

«By year 2024, the production of LNG might reach 32 million tons, condensate and oil - 9 million tons, coal - 19 million tons and other goods - approximately 3 million tons,» Kobylkin said....

The icebreaker in the photograph accompanying the article is the 50 Let Pobedy. [Fifty Years of Victory] which trailed behind the Venta Maersk to intervene if the container ship got into ice trouble on  its historic Northern Sea Rout transit last month. The icebreaker is also featured in a comparison chart in the September post "China Launches Its First Domestically Built Icebreaker".

I think the guy in the photo is trying to recreate the scene from a painting we visit from time to time, last seen here in:
News You Can Use: "How To Squeeze More Work Out Of Your Employees"
That's Barge Haulers on the Volga by Ilya Repin. You really have to look at the zoomed view to understand just how awful work can be.

"You, young guy in the middle, you have too much energy. Lean into it or you're fired!!"