The Russian Federation will continue its chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the implementation of the planned tasks, said Valery Zhuravel, a researcher at the Center for Northern Europe.
The decision of seven Western countries to suspend work in the Arctic Council is "half-way", Russia will continue its chairmanship and implementation of the planned activities, said Valery Zhuravel, a leading researcher at the Center for Northern Europe at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in an interview with Baltnews.
“We will continue our chairmanship of the Arctic Council. There are 50 events planned for 2022, which is a lot. Some say that it is not necessary to work hard and arrange them, it is better to save money. We have been preparing a lot and strongly for our chairmanship. The purpose of the events was to show our leading positions in the Arctic region. Over the past six months, we have succeeded," Zhuravel said.
According to the expert, the Arctic Council is a specific organization in which, despite the difficulties, the spirit of cooperation and constructive interaction between states continues to exist. However, the sanctions of the collective West are aimed at making a clean break," Zhuravel believes.
“Despite the decision of the countries [to withdraw from the Arctic Council], this is a half-way decision. It allows Russia to continue its work, but on a smaller scale. On the other hand, we still have an opportunity to resume work,” the Baltnews interlocutor explained.
As the expert pointed out, the Arctic Council rotates every two years, and Norway, one of the leading Arctic states, will be in the next chair. In turn, Russia is responsible for transferring its chairmanship to Norway, ensuring the continuity of those projects that are decided in the Arctic Council, Zhuravel explained.
"They expressed an opinion that the chairmanship would pass from Russia to Iceland. With all due respect to Iceland's chairmanship, this is a small country, financial and economic opportunities are not big enough," Zhuravel said.
He added that the work of the Arctic Council should be resumed after some time, since activities within the Council of the country are not stopped, we are talking about events that will be held on the territory of the Russian Federation.
"There are many of them, and they are all important. Russia has planned 161 events for these two years," the expert emphasized.
“Sanction pressure on Russia remains. We have always felt it, most of all it manifests itself in the economic sphere. <...> Either we are accused directly of militarizing the Arctic, violating environmental requirements, or of oppressing the rights of the indigenous peoples of the North. All this affects the rhythm of the work of the Arctic council," concluded Valery Zhuravel.
Let us add that earlier the Western countries that are members of the Arctic Council - Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Iceland, Canada, Norway, the USA, Finland and Sweden reported their refusal to send their representatives to its official events, as well as a temporary suspension of its participation in the activities of the working bodies of this organization in connection with the situation in Ukraine, where the Russian Federation has been conducting a military operation since February 24.