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Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican since 1850
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Russia in the Arctic: Between realpolitik and mythology of the north
Recently the German newspaper Die Welt reported that more and more Americans are moving from the south to the north because for many the previously preferred south is too warm, but also too dangerous because of natural disasters. In Russia, this is not yet the case, and Russians are more likely to move from the north to regions with a somewhat warmer climate.

Russia is the largest state in the Arctic area, but it is not an Arctic nation, since its population identifies little with the far north. So the Russian government has yet to build an ideal image of its connection to the Arctic, as well as make material investments. So far little has been done to stop the population shift southward. That is why real estate prices in Russia’s north continue to fall.

However, this does not stop the government from continuing to make massive investments in this region because along with the business sector they have other priorities: the Russian Arctic does not yet offer opportunities for a comfortable life, but it has something valuable enough to justify interest and huge investments. It is home to natural resources – this region is called the “Ali Baba’s cave” of the modern world, although assumptions about potential resources are highly controversial – but also to important trade routes. The northern sea route can shorten the journey from Asia to Europe by 15 days compared to the one through the Suez Canal.

Since the same holds true for all the states bordering the Arctic Ocean: Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway (to which China must also be added), this region, once of interest only to polar explorers, has become one of the most important issues in international politics.
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