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Articles by The Barents Observer
on thin ice
North Pole Ice Cap Too Thin for Testing Russia’s Giant Icebreaker
The nuclear-powered Arktika icebreaker reportedly “experienced no resistance at all” on its first test run to the North Pole.
Rosneft Head Gifts Putin With Bottle of Arctic Oil
Simply fabulous quality, Rosneft leader Igor Sechin says as he gives the president a bottle of oil from his new Arctic project.
Radioactive 'Time Bomb'
Russia to Remove Hazardous Nuclear Objects Dumped in Its Arctic Waters
From the late 1960s to the late 1980s, about 18,000 radioactive objects were dumped into Russia's remote northern waters.
Northern Russian Region Counts More Covid-19 Cases Than Neighboring Norway or Finland
Finland and Norway each have populations about seven times higher than that of the Murmansk region.
New Fuel Leak Hits Russia’s Arctic Weeks After Disastrous Diesel Spill
At least 45 tons of jet fuel leaked into the ground from a pipeline owned and operated by Nornickel.
Investor Breathes New Life Into Major Arctic Coal Project
Russia plans to boost its domestic coal output by up to 50%, with the Arctic region playing a key role in these plans.
The City That Builds Russia's Nuclear Submarines Now Has Over 2,000 Covid-19 Cases
The building of nuclear subs and other naval vessels continues despite the increasingly serious virus situation.
Northern Sea Route
Putin’s Grand Plan for Arctic Shipping Might Wreck in Barents Sea
The road toward Putin's goal of 80 million tons shipped annually on the route linking Europe and Asia is long and difficult.
Naval Chiefs at Russian Submarine Ceremony Ignore Coronavirus Safety Rules
The flag-raiser for the Knyaz Vladimir took place in the city with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Arkhangelsk region.
threats from abroad
Foreign Adversaries Could Use Tundra Oil Spill to Discredit Russia, Security Chief Warns
Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev accused Western powers of seeking to destabilize Russia.
Russia’s Arctic City of Murmansk Opens Coronavirus Hospital Constructed in 2 Weeks
Nowhere in the country has a hospital been erected as quickly, regional authorities say.
Russia's 'Doomsday Drone' Prepares for Testing
The Poseidon underwater drone is built to carry a nuclear warhead weighing up to two megatons.
Russian Paratroopers Jump at 10K Meters Over Arctic Base
Officials called the exercise “the first in world history.”
FSB Stops Refugees in Barents Sea
Three Syrian citizens boarded a small motorboat in Devkina Zavod Bay and departed toward Norway.
Deep Sea Deployment
Navy: New Attack Submarines Will Sail for Northern Fleet
The Russian Defense Ministry has definitively approved the deployment of Yasen-class submarines.
Syktyvkar Identified as a Russian Virus Epicenter
The capital city of the republic of Komi has confirmed 54 cases of the coronavirus.
As Virus Looms, Russian Arctic Brigade Tests Chemical Weapons Defense
Infantry units carried out exercises with howitzers, anti-aircraft missile systems, and chemical reconnaissance vehicles.
Thousands of Workers Stuck On Remote Arctic Construction Sites
Workers at the remote sites find themselves unable to travel home amid the increased restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Champion of Murmansk Media Quits Over Censorship
Vyacheslav Gorodetsky has announced that he is leaving B-Port, the company he created almost 15 years ago.
Arctic Oil Faces Crisis
Grand plans for drilling and development are being delayed and postponed.
Breaking the Ice
Russian Arctic Shipping Up 430% in 3 Years
The volume of goods being transported on the Northern Sea Route has never come close to the current level.
ruled from moscow
Russian Lawmakers Propose Special Governing Status for Arctic
Strategically important areas of Russia's north could be directly administered by the federal government under a new proposal.
World’s Only Nuclear-Powered Civilian Ship Gears Up for Russian Antarctic Voyage
The Sevmorput will sail to Antarctica later this year, carrying construction materials destined for the Vostok research station.
Murmansk Commandos Conduct Anti-Terrorism Drills Onboard Nuclear Icebreakers
Troops from several key enforcement authorities in the region took part in the exercises.
Russia's New Arctic Project Will Be Biggest in Global Oil – Rosneft
The Vostok Oil project is designed exploit 5 billion additional tons of oil in northern Russia.
Moscow Outlines $231Bln Plan for Arctic Oil Development
A new tax regime for the Russian Arctic aims to spark an unprecedented wave of investments in icy drilling.
Russian Warships to Hold Missile Drills Near Norway’s Gas Pipeline to Europe
Norwegian intelligence sees the drills as a response to the Western exercises that take place north of the Arctic Circle in March.
Russia Steps into Oil-Free Future With New Arctic Research Station
The Snowflake research station will be fully fueled by hydrogen and is being built as Russia prepares to take over the chair of the Arctic Council.
Gazprom Fixes Eyes On New Gas Field
The Kruzenshternskoye field is much bigger than previously believed.
Mishustin Gives Gazprom the Go-Ahead
The new prime minister granted Gazprom Oil the development rights to the Khambateyskoye gas and oil field.
Russia’s Northern Fleet to Get New Anti-Submarine Aircraft
Technical requirements have already been prepared for Russia’s new anti-submarine aircraft based on a late-Soviet passenger plane.
break the ice
Russia's Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker Escorts Up 54% in 2019
In 2019, nuclear-powered icebreakers escorted 510 vessels along the Northern Sea Route.
Russia's Leading Human Rights Group Fined 21 Times for 'Foreign Agent' Violations
The organization's most recent fine stems from a project about members of a predecessor to the KGB and their engagement in Stalin-era repressions.
Moscow Adopts 15-Year Grand Plan for Northern Sea Route
By 2035, the Russian government intends to facilitate massive exploitation of natural resources.
Gazprom to Build the World's Northernmost Petrochemical Plant in the Arctic
The company intends to produce millions of tons of plastics on the remote lands.
World’s Largest Nuclear Icebreaker Starts Sea Trials
The nuclear icebreaker will test its ballast system, navigation equipment, anchors and electric installations as well as maneuvering characteristics.
$6.5M U.S. Tech Bound for Russia Seized by Authorities
U.S. authorities seized a turbine that was bound for Russia's Arctic in an apparent violation of sanctions.
Russian Parliament Demands Apology From Norway as Tensions Escalate
The chairman of the Federation Council's foreign affairs committee demanded an apology for the 2018 detention of Mikhail Bochkarev.
Russia Deploys New Missile System Along Norwegian Border
The Northern Fleet says the Tor-M2DT system will secure air space control and defense.
Who Can Talk?
Russia Is Removing Critical Voices Ahead of Arctic Council Chairmanship, Indigenous Expert Claims
Russia points to the Arctic as territory of dialogue, but the shutdown of an indigenous rights group is drawing criticism.
FUNDING ON ICE
Russia Refuses State Funding for New Arctic Gas Projects
As gas prices plummet, Russia rejects industry calls to fund new projects.
TOP OF THE WORLD
Russia to Become World’s Top Palladium Producer After $15Bln Arctic Investment
Nornickel and Russian Palladium to invest in huge production plant in Arctic tundra.
Arctic's Biggest Air Polluter Nornickel Shuts Down Smelter at Infamous Factory
Pollution from the factory has been a thorn in Norway-Russia relations since the days of the Soviet Union.
Sami Parliaments, EU Concerned by Russia Shutting Down Indigenous Rights Group
"Russia’s goal with the shutdown is to keep indigenous peoples outside any international, Arctic and UN venues."
Oil Rigs Leave Russia's Arctic Waters As Drilling Season Winds Down
This year, three rigs have drilled in the Kara Sea and the Gulf of Ob.
Russian Arctic Island Temperatures Hit Record Highs
If the trend continues 2019 could be the warmest year on record in the northern hemisphere.
Russian Submarines Hone Stealth Skills in Major North Atlantic Drill – Norwegian Intel
Such maneuvers from the Northern Fleet haven’t been seen since the days of the Cold War.
planting the flag
'The Arctic Shelf Is Ours,' Russian Defense Ministry Says
Russia says it now has the data needed to support its claims in the Arctic region.
Massive Nuclear War Games Start in Russian Arctic
More than 12,000 troops are taking part in nuclear war games across Russia’s arctic regions this week.
Putin Wants to Connect Russia's Arctic Coast and the Indian Ocean
"The idea is to connect the ports by means of transport arterials through Eastern Siberia, the center of Eurasia," Putin said.
Norwegian Coast Guard Ship Makes Port Call in Russia's North
These waters in the White Sea are of strategic importance for Russia.
Powerful Fleet of LNG Tankers Sails Arctic Route to Asia as Ice Shrinks to Year’s Low
The Asia-Pacific region is a strategic priority, Novate's deputy chairman says.
Russian Deliveries to Arctic Military Bases Up 200% From 2018, State Shipping Company Says
The state military shipping company has delivered 30,000 tons of goods this year to Russia’s new Navy bases in the region.
National Park Head Proposes Visa-Free Travel to Russian Arctic in Attempt to Boost Tourism
The establishment of a special customs regime around the remote archipelago would boost visits, says Alexander Kirilov.
Murmansk Launches Construction of Russia’s Largest Wind Power Park
The turbines will account for a major share of the green power produced by Russia over the next decade.
Walrus Attack Sinks Russian Northern Fleet Boat in Arctic Waters
The walruses probably feared for their cubs, researchers said.
Russia Moves to Expand Its Arctic Icebreaker Fleet, Already the World's Largest
Russian state company Rosmorport aims to strengthen its position in Arctic waters with nine new icebreaking ships.
Russia Plans to Build Major Radar System At Its Northernmost Point
The installation at Cape Chelyuskin is reported to cost 1.2 billion rubles ($18.7 million).
Russian Military Plants Flag at Northernmost Point of Eurasia
The flag symbolizes Russia's desire for the peaceful exploration and development of the Arctic, the Northern Fleet said.
Russian Prosecutors Find Insufficient Anti-Terrorist Protection at Murmansk Nuclear Waste Sites
According to their claims, the single concrete fence topped with barbed wire isn’t enough to stop terrorists.
Putin Seeks to Increase Arctic Gas Deliveries to China
The president has requested that state natural gas company Gazprom find the necessary resources in the Yamal gas fields.
Northern Sea Route
Russian Nuclear-Powered Cargo Ship Loaded With Seafood Approaches Norway
Norway’s nuclear safety watchdog wants to know more about Russia’s plans for sailing commercial cargo with the reactor-powered ship.
Russian Emergency Services Make Final Check on Floating Nuclear Power Plant
Rosgvardia, the Russian National Guard, has been commissioned to protect the power plant and its surroundings.
Break the ice
New Arctic Partnership Announces Construction of 17 Icebreaking LNG Tankers
A joint venture set up by Novatek and Sovcomflot will develop and run a powerful new fleet of Arctic carriers.
Russia Secures Pens Holding 'Spy Whales,' Satellite Images Show
A people-friendly whale that approached Norwegian fishermen wearing a harness and GoPro helmet may have escaped from the pens.
New Russian Nuclear-Powered Sub to Be Delivered to Northern Fleet
With a second Borei-class submarine, the number of Bulava ballistic missiles deployed for patrol in the Barents and Arctic Seas will be doubled.
India Looks Toward Russian Arctic for Energy Development
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Russian Far East this week focused on Arctic LNG, the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic Council.
Powered by LNG, Russian Tanker Sails Arctic Route to China
Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot says this the first shipment of its kind.
Moscow to Re-Examine Soviet-Era Arctic Drill Site for Oil and Gas Potential
The Russian government has commissioned a new analysis of well samples almost 50 years after Soviet oilmen drilled there.
Novatek Gets Multi-Billion Ruble Tax Break for Arctic Gas Terminal
President Vladimir Putin is prioritizing tax incentives and other benefits to encourage companies to develop the Arctic region.
Russia Rebuffs International Concern Over Environment on Northern Sea Route
Concerns for the environment in the Arctic have been spurred by quickly expanding industrial activity across the region.
Ice on Russia's Northern Sea Route Has Disappeared, Opening Up Arctic Shipping Lanes
The number of ships that have set a course along the Arctic route remains low.
Russia to Launch Nuclear-Powered Fish Shipping Around Scandinavia
Authorities hope the voyage will kickstart regular seafood shipping from Russia’s Pacific regions to St. Petersburg via the Arctic.
Isotopes' Composition Proves Nuclear Reactor Was Involved in Russian Explosion, Expert Says
The findings are "proof that it was a nuclear reactor that exploded," in Russia's north, a Norwegian nuclear expert said.
Russia Announces Plans for Coal-Digging Surge
Russia’s position as an energy superpower is challenged by international efforts to combat climate change.
Russia's Last Cold War-Era Reactor Lifted Onshore in the Arctic
The Barents Sea is safer as the era of storing radioactive reactor compartments on the water comes to an end.
Russia to Open Tourism Center in Remote Arctic Archipelago
Visits to Franz Josef Land must be made more attractive to tourists, the local national park director says.
Russian Village Cancels Evacuation Despite Radiation Spike
A missile exploded in the area last week, leading to a large spike in radiation levels.
Russia Deploys Missile System 70km From Norway’s Vardo Radar
Russia’s increased military activities in the vicinity of Norwegian territory come only days after the death of the INF Treaty.
Russia Delivers Weapons to New Arctic Garrison
Ships delivered 175 units of weaponry to the new air defense base in Tiksi in the Far East.
Russia Sends Mass Quantities of Supplies to Arctic Military Bases
Russia has significantly strengthened its presence in the Arctic and there are now more servicemen based in the region than at any time before.
Russia Establishes New Arctic Air Squadron to Protect Its Northern Sea Route
A fleet of Su-34 fighter jets is to be deployed across the region.
Russia Tests New Arctic Anti-Aircraft Missiles at Novaya Zemlya
The Tor-M2DT missile system has a vital role in Russia’s re-armament of the Arctic.
Struggling Murmansk Shipping Company Loses Control of Sole Passenger Line
The ship is a lifeline for Russians living in settlements on the White Sea coast.
Russia Eyes Own Arctic Cruise Liners
Murmansk and Barentsburg could become vital ports for a new series of Russian medium-sized luxury ships.
'We Want to Change the Course of History,' Northern Sea Route Operator Says
With new icebreakers, Russia's Arctic route could compete with the Suez Canal in shipping and trading.
Arctic's Biggest Air Polluter Distributes $3.7Bln Cash Dividends to Owners
Nornickel has tripled payouts to its shareholders over the last three years.
Super-Secret Russian Submarine Will Be Repaired and Returned to Service
The fire started in the battery compartment but did not affect the reactor, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Vladimir Putin.
Floating Nuclear Power Plant Will Be Key Element on Northern Sea Route
The Akademik Lomonosov power station has been officially handed over to the Russian state nuclear power company.
Chinese Oil Drillers Are Back in Russian Arctic
This is the third year in a row when the Chinese Nanhai-8 drilling rig has arrived in Russia’s Murmansk for drilling in Arctic waters.
Two Russian Warships Sail Into Norwegian Sea Ahead of NATO Drills
Their mission was to “demonstrate Russian naval presence” in the Atlantic Ocean.
Japan Teams Up With Russia in Big Arctic LNG
The deal gives Japanese companies a 10 percent stake in the major LNG project being developed on Russia’s Arctic coast.
Russian Kilo-Class Sub May Surface Through NATO Anti-Submarine Exercise
The Kilo-class Vladikavkaz is en route to St. Petersburg from the Kola Peninsula.
Demand of respect
Russia Proposes Punishing Foreign Countries for Disrespecting Russian War Memorials
Vandalism and "distortion of historical facts" abroad will have consequences, Russia's Defense Minister said.
Small Northern Russian Town Lands Key Role in Big Arctic Plan
Behind the decision lies a plan to boost shipments on the Northern Sea Route.
Russian Arctic Island Becomes Nature Reserve
The unique birdlife on the island of Kolguyev needs protection, environmental authorities say.
Russia’s New Arctic Missile Knocks out Targets in Massive Test Launch
The targets moved in different directions and at different altitudes. They were all successfully eliminated, the military representatives say.
FSB Makes Arrests at Norwegian Border
The two individuals allegedly tried to make it illegally across the border to Norway.
Russia Warns It Will Take Measures in Response to Norwegian Spy Radar in Arctic
Moscow fears the radar could be used to monitor the Northern Fleet's activities.
Russia’s High-Tech Nuclear Submarine Delayed By Design Flaws
The submarine is said to be both the most expensive and technically advanced in the Russian Navy.