Russian Formal and Practical Geopolitics in the Arctic: Change and Continuity

  • Jakub M. Godzimirski Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)
  • Alexander Sergunin Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Abstract

This article examines current Russian expert and official narratives on the Arctic, situating them in the broader context of the debate on Russia’s role in the international system. Combining a critical geopolitics approach to the study of international relations with content analysis tools, we map how structural geopolitical changes in the wider region have shaped narratives on the Arctic in Russia today. Two types of Russian narratives on the Arctic are explored—the one put forward by members of the Russian expert community, and the one that emerges from official documents and statements by members of the Russian policymaking community. With the expert narratives, we pay particular attention to the Arctic topics featured and how they are informed by various mainstream approaches to the study of international relations (IR). In examining policy practitioners’ narrative approaches, we trace the overlaps and differences between these and the expert narratives. Current expert and official Russian narratives on the Arctic appear to be influenced mostly by neorealist and neoliberal ideas in IR, without substantial modifications after the 2014 conflict, thus showing relatively high ideational continuity.

Author Biography

Jakub M. Godzimirski, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

Research Professor

Research Group on Russia, Eurasia and the High North

Published
2020-04-20
How to Cite
Godzimirski, J. M., & Sergunin, A. (2020). Russian Formal and Practical Geopolitics in the Arctic: Change and Continuity. Arctic Review, 11, 22-46. https://doi.org/10.23865/arctic.v11.1350
Section
Original Articles
Keywords
Russia, the Arctic, critical geopolitics, expert narratives, official narratives