In the coming years, Russia will invest billions of rubles in its High North. The Arctic part of the country accounts for more than 20 percent of the national exports and more than 15 percent of the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP).
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- Russia’s future is insoluble attached to the Arctic, the country’s Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz O. Ramishvili says.
When High North News meets him at the Russian Embassy in Oslo, he says that Russia plans to carry out more than 140 projects worth billions of Russian rubles in the Russian Arctic.
Most of the investments will come from private investors, and the money will be spent on developing oil and gas projects, coal- and ore deposits, the North East Passage and transport solutions to improve infrastructure.
- Partners are welcome
Using the Northern Sea Route, which is both a national transportation route for Russia in the Arctic, as well as a transit route between Europe and Asia, is vital for the development in the Arctic, according to Russian authorities.
- International cooperation partners are welcome to join all projects that are planned for the Russian part of the Arctic, Ambassador Ramishvili says.
The relationship between Norway and Russia has, both politically and diplomatically, been rather cool since Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014. Norway has supported and prolonged all sanctions introduced by the EU, and that has had consequences for the economic cooperation.
According to Russia’s embassy, the Norwegian exports to Russia have decreased nearly 75 percent in the period 2013-2016, if calculated in Norwegian kroner. In 2013, the export value totaled 8.5 billion kroner. Three years later, in 2016, it was reduced to 2.1 billion kroner.
Not certain about the realization potential
In this interview, which High North News published one and a half week ago, the Russian Ambassador says that the country would like to cooperate with Norway on building a series of new fishing vessels. This is because Russia will have a significant need for renewing its fishing fleet in the coming years:
– In this area, Norway has sufficient expertise and professionality, he says.
However, Ambassador Ramishvili fears that a cooperation in this area may not happen and that it will join a long line of lost opportunities following the sanctions, and the fact that “the economic relationship has not been very optimistic for the past few years”.
In the same interview, the Ambassador says that Russia “does not see constructive signs or signals in its relationship to Norway” and that Russia at times perceives the international climate of cooperation in the Arctic as more positive than the current bilateral relationship to Norway.
Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg is fairly optimistic about future trade with Russia.