Putin Signs Decree Expanding Land Territories of Russia’s Arctic Zone
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree amending Decree No. 296 of the President of the Russian Federation dated 2 May 2014 “On the Land Territories of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation”, which significantly expands the land territory of the Arctic zone to include several areas of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Under the Decree, the territory of the Abyysky Ulus (District), Verkhnekolymsky Ulus (District), Verkhoyansky District, Zhigansky National Evenkiysky District, Momsky District, Srednekolymsky Ulus (District), and Eveno-Bytantaysky National Ulus (District) (Republic of Sakha) (Yakutia) have been included in the land-based part of the Arctic zone. All eight regions are fully or partially located beyond the Arctic Circle. The Arctic zone previously included five regions located along the coast of the Arctic Ocean.
Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev thanked the Russian President for expanding the region’s borders and noted that this decision would accelerate the pace of the Arctic’s development: “What the republic has been striving for for many years has taken place! Today, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree under which eight more regions of our republic have been included in the Arctic zone. Programmes for the development of the Arctic will now be in effect here as well as in the territories of the Allaikhovsky, Anabarsky, Bulunsky, Nizhnekolymsky, and Ust-Yansky Districts. On behalf of all the inhabitants of Yakutia, I thank the President for his support and I am confident that this decision will help us develop our Arctic at a faster pace”.
The borders of the land-based territory of Russia’s Arctic were last modified in 2017, when Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the inclusion of three municipal districts of the Republic of Karelia in the Arctic zone in order to implement the Keystones of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic until 2020 and Beyond: the Belomorsky Municipal District, the Loukhsky Municipal District, and the Kemsky Municipal District. Issues concerning the territorial consolidation of the Russian Arctic, the creation of innovative logistics routes, and the integrated development of this strategically important region were discussed as part of the business programme of the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum, which took place in St. Petersburg on 9–10 April 2019.
On 2 May 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree “On the Land Territories of the Arctic Aone of the Russian Federation”. Under this document, the Russian part of the Arctic incorporated the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Regions; the Republic of Komi and Yakutia; the Krasnoyarsk Region; the Nenets, Chukotka, and Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, the Belomorsk, Kemsky, and Loukhsky Districts of Karelia as well as “lands and islands located in the Arctic Ocean and certain uluses of Yakutia, which were declared USSR territory under a decree of the Presidium of the USSR Central Executive Committee dated 15 April 1926”. The Russian Arctic zone is bordered by the territories of four countries: the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark, which owns Greenland.