Russia to make law on Arctic territories (Barents Observer/RIA Novosti)

Barents Observer 2011-11-01, original article here.
Russia’s Arctic territories will become a separate object of state policy. A federal law on this subject is expected to be prepared in 2012.

– The place and role of the northern territories in the country’s socio-economic development pre-determine the need to single out the Arctic zone as a separate object of state policy, a draft concept of the law reads, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia's Arctic zone is to be singled out as s seperate object of state policy. Parts of Arkhangelsk Oblast, where this picture is taken, is considered to be part of the Arctic zone. (Photo: Trude Pettersen)

The draft concept has been prepared by the Ministry of Regional Development and has been handed over to the Government for approval. The final law will be prepared in 2012 as part of Russia’s state program for economic and social development of the Russian Arctic in 2012-2020.

The authors of the draft believe that development of the Arctic zone should be a top national priority, like development of Siberia used to be:

– The Arctic is a veritable storeroom of natural resources – 27 million square kilometers of the Continental Shelf where 70-75 percent of the mineral and biological resources of the world’s oceans and seas might be concentrated.

The Russian Arctic zone includes the entire Murmansk Region, the Nenets, Yamal-Nenets and Chukotka Autonomous Areas, as well as some parts of Karelia, the Komi Republic, Yakutia, the Arkhangelsk Region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The Arctic zone’s territory also includes coastal lowlands of the Arctic Ocean, basins of rivers flowing into the Arctic seas, indivisible administrative-territorial entities, as well as major resource-production complexes being serviced by the Northern Sea Route.

Large-scale reindeer antler smuggling

A group of businessmen from the Republic of Karelia in April unsuccessfully tried to smuggle 800 kg of reindeer horns from Russia to Latvia.

The smugglers where caught by customs officers in Pskov Oblast near the border to Latvia. In the truck, the customs officers found 495 units of reindeer horn with a total weight of more than 800 kg. The goods had no customs declaration, nor any other documentation, weekly newspaper Karelskaya Gubernyareports

The revealed smuggling attempt might indicate large-scale reindeer poaching in Karelia, regional authorities say. Specialists now investigate whether the horns stem from Karelia or from the neighboring Murmansk Oblast.

While reindeer hunting is strictly forbidden in Karelia, Murmansk Oblast has a functioning reindeer industry operated primarily by the indigenous Sami population. Several thousand reindeers use the rich pasture lands of the Kola Peninsula.

Barents Observer, original article here

Read also: Restricting Kola reindeers