The Illusion of the Arctic “Exceptionalism”,

Dr. Tiziana Melchiorre , Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG) Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA)

The Arctic is not an “exceptional” region as it has been thought for a long time. Instead, it is the reflection of the international order. The consequences that the war in Ukraine is having in the Arctic is an excellent example. It is having two important consequences for the Arctic geopolitics.

First, it has halted cooperation between the West and Russia. All official meetings in the Arctic Council, the leading intergovernmental forum guiding cooperation in the region of which Russia has currently the chairmanship until 2023, and in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, which is the other relevant forum, have been suspended. […]

Additionally, experts agreed that the Arctic Council does not make sense without Russia and that cooperation within this forum has to be continued. The establishment of a new body with only the western Arctic countries as members was considered unthinkable.

Nevertheless, a good question would be how the activities of the Arctic Council will be developed if Finland and Sweden join NATO, meaning that the only non-NATO country in the forum would be Russia.

Second, militarization is the other side-effect of the war in Ukraine in the Arctic. Actually, militarization began already in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

However, the current war has deteriorated the relations between the West and Russia even more leading the Arctic countries to abandon the “low tension area” image that the world had had of the Arctic since the end of the Cold War when ex Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev gave a speech in Murmansk in 1987. […]

The Arctic countries are increasing their military presence in the region, which is the shortest distance between the two historical enemies, the United States and Russia. This latter has re-occupied some of the military bases of the Cold War and the western countries are also following the example. Additionally, NATO is making military exercises in the region. Läs artikel