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Russia To Submit Arctic Claims by Year's End

Published: January 24, 2013 (Issue # 1743)



  • Polar bears approaching the decommissioned USS Honolulu submarine 500 kilometers from the north pole.
    Photo: wikipedia.org

MOSCOW Thefederal government will submit its final Arctic territorial claims with theUnited Nations bythe end ofthe year, thecountry's leading Arctic scientist said.

Artur Chilingarov, theveteran explorer who led theexpedition toplant aRussian flag onthe seabed atthe North Pole in2007, told Rossia 24 television that Russia's claim toa portion ofthe Arctic shelf would be filed with theUnited Nations Commission onthe Law ofthe Sea byDecember.

"I think we are seriously prepared," he said. "We have gathered all thenecessary information needed tomake ajust decision, including theexperience ofother countries."

Chilingarov led aseries ofexpeditions over thepast few years seeking toprove that theundersea Lomonosov Ridge is anextension ofRussia's continental shelf.

If approved, theclaim based onthis research would see Russia gain anadditional 1.2 million square kilometers ofexclusive economic zone, Interfax reported.

Chilingarov's announcement came thesame day thegovernment published anew long-term strategy forArctic development.

TheState Program forthe Arctic, which defines government policy forat least thenext eight years, was published onthe Regional Development Ministry's website Wednesday. Expert opinions onthe draft are being accepted until Jan. 29.

Thelaw would establish amandatory review ofany business activities that could pose anenvironmental hazard, starting froma "presumption ofenvironmental danger ofany proposed activity," RIA-Novosti reported.

Inother provisions, thelaw would bar theprivatization ofany airlines inthe region andallow certain regions tobe closed toaircraft forenvironmental reasons. It would also ban off-road travel inthe tundra.

While thedocument does make note ofthe need todefend theregion, it does not directly mention rumored plans toclose areas like theYamal Peninsula tononresidents.

Thestrategy also suggests that Russian domination ofthe Arctic Sea Route be written intoa law, with astipulation that atleast 70 percent ofships operating inthe region should be Russian.

It does, however, talk about allocating state financing forthe "development andimplementation ofprograms toattract foreign investment tothe Arctic zone."

Thenew strategy, which will define state policy forthe region forPresident Vladimir Putin's current presidential term andbeyond, was published shortly after theUnited Nations Environment Program unveiled plans fora $300 million, five-year environmental undertaking inthe area.

UNEP Moscow chief Vladimir Moshkalo said theRussian government had asked his agency tooversee development ofthe program, which will be co-funded byagencies including theEconomic Development Ministry, theEnvironment andNatural Resources Ministry, theWorld Bank andthe European Bank forReconstruction andDevelopment.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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