Russia and Arctic Governance: Cooperation in Conflict

Finland, the country currently chairing the Arctic Council, proposed a high-level Arctic summit during a recent bilateral meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. While discussion of the summit and a broader suite of Arctic and environmental issues proceeded smoothly, Russian concerns and protests over a large upcoming NATO alliance exercise in Norway, in which Finland will participate, were also raised. All of the Arctic states, including Russia, have long sought to primarily present the circumpolar region as one of peace – and potential wealth.  While the question of whether there will be more cooperation or more conflict in the Arctic is a popular and easy one to pose, the more productive question is how cooperation against the backdrop of other, more global tensions has long characterized and continues to shape Arctic governance development. So, how does Russia – the largest Arctic state – engage in the process of pursuing cooperative outcomes and a regional peace conducive to economic gains? How do such cooperative efforts play out against a backdrop of security rivalry between Russia and most of the Arctic states? How robust are circumpolar cooperative venues to worsened relationships between Russia and its partners? Are the solutions produced by the Arctic states so far dimensioned to the challenges facing the region? The Stimson Center discussion will seek to address these key questions as part of a seminar based on Elana Wilson Rowe’s recently published book Arctic Governance: Power in Cross-Border Cooperation (Manchester University Press in the UK/Oxford University Press in the USA).

WHAT: A discussion on Russia’s Arctic politics and the long lines of development and challenges in Arctic governance more broadly. The event is on-the-record and will be livestreamed. Lunch will be served.

WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036

WHEN: Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.

FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonNow to join the conversation.


ELANA WILSON ROWE, Research Professor, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Elana Wilson Rowe holds a PhD in Geography/Polar Studies from the University of Cambridge (2006). Her areas of expertise include international relations in the Arctic, science and expert knowledge in global governance, climate politics and Russian foreign and northern policy. She is the author of Russian Climate Politics: When Science Meets Policy (Palgrave, 2009) and Arctic Governance: Power in cross-border cooperation (Manchester University Press, 2018).


YUN SUN, Co-Director, East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Yun Sun is Co-Director of the East Asia Program and Director of the China Program at the Stimson Center. Sun’s expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes. From 2011 to early 2014, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program, where she focused on Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Sun was the China Analyst for the International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specializing on China’s foreign policy towards conflict countries and the developing world.


MARLENE LARUELLE, Research Professor, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University

Marlene Laruelle is a Research Professor at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is the Director of the Central Asia Program at IERES and co-director of PONARS (Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia). She received her PhD from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures. She has authored Russia’s Strategies in the Arctic and the Future of the Far North (M.E. Sharpe, 2013), and edited New Mobilities and Social Changes in Russia’s Arctic Regions (Routledge, 2016).

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