Russia's Far North - fruits of Finnish - Japanese research cooperation

Do you think that nothing else comes from the land of the ice and snow than oil and gas? The Russian Far North is much more than its vast natural resources, it is also about reindeer herding entrepreneurs, landscape painting, "Russian style" in fashion, military bases, fragile environment, harsh living conditions, indigenous peoples, conflicts, cooperation and many other things.

A new book Russia’s Far North – The Contested Energy Frontier was published earlier this month as a part of Routledge Contemporary Russia and East Europe Series and serves as a good introduction into the versatile nature of the region and of the research on it. This volume, edited by newly appointed at the Aleksanteri Institute professors Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Daria Gritsenko and professors Shinichiro Tabata and Masanori Goto from the Slavic-Eurasian Research Centre, Hokkaido University, is a result of a two-year research project, co-funded by the Academy of Finland and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The multidisciplinary project titled “Russia’s final energy frontier – Sustainability challenges of the Russian Far North” (RUSENFRON) was conducted from September 2014 to August 2016 and dealt with how the energy policy in the Russian Far North is formed and how it influences the socioeconomic development and the environment in the region.

This book, written by a group of researchers from Finland, Japan and Russia, presents a comprehensive study on the Russian Arctic territories from the perspectives of economy and energy, security and diplomacy, business and environment, identity and community. The leading theme of the book – North as an energy frontier – links together conflicting at times opinions on the matter. This contestation brings in a new perspective to the study of the Arctic. Russia’s Far North – The Contested Energy Frontier aims to enhance the understanding of an inherently multifaceted and cross-sectoral Russia’s Arctic policies and their wider implications for the economy, environment and society.

Russian Far North has been receiving an increasing attention from the state authorities in the last decade, as the territory holds a great potential of becoming the “foremost strategic base for natural resources” – a goal that was set to be achieved by 2020 in the Russian Arctic Strategy 2008. The book thoroughly unfolds the strategic importance of the region, the history of its development and the possibilities of the development in the future.

EDIT 27 June 2018: A free online copy of the book is now provided by the publisher.