History as a resource in Russian Arctic politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The planting of the Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole in 2007 marked the re-energizing of Russian Arctic policy. A debate flared up about Russian aspirations and designs. Vladimir Putin’s policy has consciously sought to strengthen the Arctic as the most important territory of the Russian Federation, making the Russian Arctic an interesting case from the point of view of identity politics. Now that the Arctic is constantly “changing,” there is a need for a coherent national history of the Russian Arctic to solidify the “Arctic identity” of Russia.
History is used by all Arctic states to construct a valid, triumphal narrative about their presence – historical and current – in the Arctic. The Arctic narratives are filled with stories of heroic explorations and conquest of the wild nature. Indigenous peoples are justly part of these narratives, and their role has been highlighted in official speeches and strategies in Russia in particular. Still, they do not play a crucial role in the modern narrative about the (historical) Arctic.
Russia is a special case among the Arctic states in that the collapse of the Soviet Union left the country in a vacuum of values and identities. As shown by the many “history wars” of the last decade, Vladimir Putin’s Russia uses the past and the lost place and space of the Soviet Union to induce a sense of national pride. In this, the Russian Arctic serves as a space onto which many hopes and desires are projected: the historical legacy of the Soviet conquest of the North serves to strengthen the new narrative about the Arctic as an organic part of Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResources, Social and Cultural Sustainabilities in the Arctic
EditorsMonica Tennberg, Hanna Lempinen, Susanna Pirnes
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter12
Number of pages12
Edition1.
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-05736-6
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-17544-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book