The New Ice Curtain

Russia's Strategic Reach to the Arctic

The New Ice Curtain explores Russia’s strategic ambitions for its Arctic region—an understudied and underappreciated area that encompasses nearly the entire northern coast of Eurasia. As the Russian Arctic produces 20 percent of Russian GDP, 22 percent of its exports, and is home to nearly 2 million of its citizens, Russia’s economic future will increasingly depend on robust Arctic development.

For Russian president Vladimir Putin, the political, economic, and military stakes could not be higher as increased geopolitical tensions over Ukraine and the imposition of Western economic sanctions may challenge Russia’s Arctic ambitions. This timely report examines Russia’s economic development strategies and assesses the Arctic nation’s military modernization efforts as it seeks to ensure the economic viability of its natural and mineral resources, as well as the Northern Sea Route. The report frames these issues and evaluates their potential impact on Russia’s future, as well as the future of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Arctic. Finally, this report identifies possible areas to preserve and protect Arctic cooperation in an increasingly tenuous Arctic ecosystem and international environment.

Heather A. Conley

Caroline Rohloff