High North, Low Politics—Maritime Cooperation with Russia in the Arctic

  • Andreas Østhagen Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies; The Arctic Institute; University of British Columbia

Abstract

Maritime activity is increasing in the Arctic. So is bilateral cooperation across maritime borders between coast guards intent on protecting natural resources, saving lives and assisting navigation. As tensions rose between Russia and the West in 2014, due to the conflict in Ukraine, coast guard cooperation in the Bering and Barents Seas was unaffected. Why? How did the respective bilateral cooperative structures between Norway/the United States and Russia develop, and why were they deemed “too vital to cancel” in the aftermath of events in Ukraine? This article examines how the respective states have developed cooperative regimes since the 1970s, and subsequently how these regimes have come to constitute the backbone of bilateral management of these vast and invaluable maritime domains. The argument made is that the specific character of coast guards and their role as stewards of the sea separate them from other military structures, making bilateral cooperation not only valuable, but indispensable, to the management of the states’ maritime sovereignty.

(Published: May 2016)

Citation: A. Østhagen. “High North, Low Politics—Maritime Cooperation with Russia in the Arctic.” Arctic Review on Law and Politics, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2016, pp. 83–100. http://dx.doi.org/10.17585/arctic.v7.255

Author Biography

Andreas Østhagen, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies; The Arctic Institute; University of British Columbia
'Senior Fellow' for The Arctic Institute and participating in its 'Leadership Group', while obtaining a PhD at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, under Professor Michael Byers. Also affiliated as fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) in Oslo and the High North Center at Bodø Business School.
Published
2016-05-23
How to Cite
Østhagen, A. (2016). High North, Low Politics—Maritime Cooperation with Russia in the Arctic. Arctic Review, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.17585/arctic.v7.255
Section
Original Articles
Keywords
Russia, coast guards, maritime cooperation, Arctic security, regime building, maritime security