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Russia's Arctic Security Policy: Still Quiet in the High North?

Russia's Arctic security policy
Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-89-4
February, 2016

Even while Russia was strengthening its military and civil emergency forces in the Arctic over the past few years as part of a wider programme of military modernization, many experts and policymakers continued to view the region as a benign security environment. However, against the background of the conflict in Ukraine and growing tensions between Russia and the West, Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic has become a trigger for renewed concern regarding the potential militarization of the region.

The changing security landscape in the Arctic raises a number of key questions, including the following: What are Russia’s security concerns in the Arctic region? How has Russia’s rhetoric regarding the Arctic evolved in recent years? What is Russia’s rationale for the military build-up in the region and is it changing? What are the links between the Arctic security agenda and the broader relationship between Russia and the Euro-Atlantic community? Can Arctic cooperation survive the consequences of the cooling relationship between Russia and its Arctic neighbours? This Policy Paper discusses these and other issues and attempts to provide some answers.


Ekaterina Klimenko was a Researcher in and the Coordinator for Conflict, Peace and Security