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Narratives in the Russian Media of Conflict and Cooperation in the Arctic

Publisher: SIPRI
August, 2019

The Arctic has been narrated as both a region of cooperation and a region of conflict. This paper presents an analysis of how three Russian newspapers (Rossiyakaya Gazeta, Izvestiya and Novaya Gazeta) reported on the Arctic region between 2007 and 2016. The aim of the analysis is to provide a foundation for a discussion of Russian perceptions of conflict and cooperation in the Arctic in a decade when the desecuritization and peaceful cooperation that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s was challenged by a combination of changes to the physical environment and a shifting geopolitical landscape. The paper also explores how Russia’s narratives of conflict and cooperation fit into narratives about the region that have emerged in the international media. Last, the paper discusses what Russian media narratives can tell us about the priorities and future trends of Russia’s Arctic policy.


I. Introduction

II. Background: Russia and the Arctic

III. Methodology

IV. Results 

V. Discussion and conclusions


Ekaterina Klimenko was a Researcher in and the Coordinator for Conflict, Peace and Security
Dr Miyase Christensen is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Stockholm University and Guest Professor at the Division of Philosophy and History of Technology, Science and Environment—Department of Philosophy and History, KTH the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.