The Russian government is considering to set up a new ministry to oversee the development of the country's Arctic territory.
This is reported by the Kommersant newspaper and The Moscow Times, citing various sources in regional government and the presidential administration.
As most other Arctic nations Russia is eager to benefit from the huge amount of untapped resources that is hiding in the icy region.
Kommersant reports that Dmitry Kobylkin, a Governor of the Yamal-Nenets region, is a possible candicate to lead the new ministry.
According to the newspaper, citing a source in the presidential administration, Russia has been pondering the creation of an "Arctic Development Ministry" for a long time already.
- Need to improve
This although, is not confirmed by President Vladimir Putin’ spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov. He tells the news agency Interfax that he is “unaware of the existence of such plans”.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s press secretary, Natalya Timakova, tells Kommersant that “no changes in the government’s structure are planned”.
A few months ago, President Vladimir Putin had meetings with the Russian Security Council on the implementation of Arctic policies. Here they addressed the prospective creation of a single government body responsible for issues in the Arctic region.
- We need to improve the quality of governance and decision-making about the Arctic, Putin later stated at Kremlin’s official site on the web.
Aiming for flexibility
- For this we need a unified center of accountability for the implementation of Arctic policy. I emphasize that we need not a burdensome bureaucratic body, but a flexible, fast-working structure that will help better coordinate the activities of Russia's ministries, departments, regions and businesses.
Russia intends to strengthen its position in the Arctic on all fronts: both military, political, financial and economic.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia will build a unified network of naval facilities on its Arctic territories to host advanced warships and submarines as part of a plan to boost protection of the country’s interests and borders in the region.
In October, the Commander-in-Chief of Russia's ground forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov, stated that Russia will Form an Arctic Military Command by 2017.
New claim in 2015
The country has actively staked claim on a vast area of the resources-rich Arctic shelf, including the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges. The first submission to the United Nations Commission, on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), was handed in in 2001. It was eturned the next year, allegedly due to the lack of information on the Lomonosov ridge.
The country is now working on a new claim that will be finalized during next spring.