Quick Facts

Arctic Territory
Murmansk, Nenets, Yamal-Nenets, Chukotka Autonomous Okrugs and northern municipalities of Arkhangelsk, Komi Republic, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

Arctic Population
2.5 million

Arctic Indigenous Peoples
40 Indigenous Peoples live in Russia. The largest include: Dolgan, Nganasan, Nenets, Saami, Khanty, Chukchi, Evenk, Even, Enets, Eskimo (Yupik) and Yukagir

Russia and the Arctic Region

The Russian Arctic is an immense territory that stretches over 24,150 kilometers of coastline and includes:

  • The whole of the Murmansk Region and the Nenets, Yamal-Nenets and Chukotka Autonomous Okrugs
  • The northern municipalities of the Arkhangelsk Region, the Komi Republic, Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)
  • The archipelagoes and islands in the Russian portion of the Arctic Ocean

Russia stretches over 53 percent of the Arctic Ocean coastline. Approximately two and a half million of Russia’s inhabitants live in Arctic territory, accounting for nearly half of the population living in the Arctic worldwide. Therefore, efficient and sustainable development of the Arctic is one of the key national priorities of the Russian Federation. Other key national interests in the Arctic include:

  • The use of the Arctic region as a strategic resource base of the Russian Federation, providing solutions to the task of socio-economic development of the country
  • Preservation of the Arctic as an area of peace and cooperation
  • Conservation of the unique ecosystems of the Arctic
  • Use of the Northern Sea Route as a national unified transportation line of the Russian Federation in the Arctic

The extraction of natural resources, primarily oil and natural gas, is Russia’s primary Arctic industry. The country is the world’s third-largest producer of hydrocarbon resources. Another priority area is the socio-economic development of the Arctic region in the Russian Federation, including improvement of quality of life for the Indigenous population and of social conditions for economic activity in the Arctic. Development of science and technology are key focuses, along with the creation of an up-to-date information and telecommunication infrastructure. Environmental safety and international cooperation in the Arctic are other priority areas for the Russian Federation.

Indigenous Peoples

Russia has 40 legally recognized Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. Of the 40 Indigenous Peoples, 11 live around or above the Arctic Circle, the largest groups including Dolgan, Nganasan, Nenets, Saami, Khanty, Chukchi, Evenk, Even, Enets, Eskimo (Yupik) and Yukagir. Traditionally, Indigenous peoples relied on reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.

Russia in the Arctic Council

Russia held the country’s first Arctic Council chairmanship from 2004-2006. Throughout the chairmanship, Russia promoted projects in the following fields:

  • Enhancing cooperation in the field of international and communication technology, including further practical steps to develop the Arctic Information and Communication Technology Network
  • Protection of health of the people residing and working in the Arctic, including telemedicine and prevention of socially significant diseases specific to the polar latitudes
  • Sustainable management of natural resources and wider use of renewable sources of energy
  • Enhancing international cooperation in the field of environmental protection, including the ratification by the Russian Federation of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Sustainable development of the Arctic Indigenous peoples

Key accomplishments include:

  • The organization of the international symposium on prospects for and consequences of the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the Arctic
  • The organization of an international conference to develop a mechanism for the monitoring, prevention and management of emergencies in the Arctic
  • The organization of the meeting of Ministers of Culture of the Arctic Council Member States, resulting in the declaration stipulating the need for enhanced cultural interaction between Indigenous Peoples and national governments as an indispensable input into the sustainable development of the Arctic region
  • The sponsorship of a workshop in advancing sustainable development in the Arctic, which was the first workshop of this kind for the Arctic Council, resulting in the overall assessment of the activities and recommendations on economic and social dimensions of sustainable development

Russia holds its second chairmanship in 2021-2023. During its Chairmanship, Russia plans to focus on economic, social and environmental sustainable development in the Arctic region. Russia will build upon joint efforts with the Arctic Council States on the principles of international law and with respect and consideration of each other’s interests in various areas from research and implementation of environmental projects to the use of the Northern Sea Route.

Nikolay Korchunov
Nikolay Korchunov
Senior Arctic Official of the Russian Federation; Ambassador at Large

Featured Projects

Mitigation of black carbon and methane emissions from APG flaring in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation

A study on flaring of associated petroleum gas in the Russian Arctic shows that significant economic and environmental gains can be achieved if Best Available Technology (BAT) and Best Environmental P...
Red Knots. Photo: Morten Ekker

Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)

Improving the status and secure the long-term sustainability of declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations.

Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum facilitates an exchange of information and best practices on shipping topics like hydrography, search and rescue logistics, industry guidelines and ...

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)

SAON's vision is a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic Observing System that serves societal needs. SAON's mission is to facilitate, coordinate, and advocate for coordinat...

Indigenous Youth, Food Knowledge and Arctic Change (EALLU) II

This project aims to maintain and further develop a sustainable and resilient reindeer husbandry in the Arctic in face of climate change and globalisation, working towards a vision of creating a bette...

Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA)

ARENA seeks to increase human capacity, promote leadership, and deploy traditional and local knowledge through the creation of a knowledge exchange program emphasizing the development, operation, and ...

Arctic Children: Preschool and School Education

The nomadic school project is aimed at the analysis and evaluation of educational practices without interrupting the traditional way of life of Indigenous peoples – children of nomads, providing them ...
USGS / M. Torre Jorgenson

Biosecurity in the Arctic

This project will contribute to supporting public health systems and public services in implementing a quick response to current and future biological threats related to the uncontrolled spread of hig...

Arctic Hydrogen Energy Applications and Demonstrations (AHEAD)

Design, construction and development of the year-round Snowflake International Arctic Station (IAS) based on fully-autonomous hydrogen energy for finalizing, testing and popularizing solutions in the ...
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Digitalization of the Linguistic and Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic

The Arctic Council's Digitalization of Linguistic and Cultural Heritage of the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Project is focused on preserving and developing Indigenous languages, traditional knowle...
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Arctic Demography Index

The Arctic Council states are facing a number of troublesome demographic trends: restructuring of the population towards a smaller share of youth and young adults, aging decline in labor force for som...
Harald Finkler

Arctic Food Innovation Cluster

Pulling together relevant people in the Arctic foods value chain for a cluster-based approach to food production and regional economic development.
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Arctic Arrangement for Regional Reception Facilities

Due to the Arctic’s unique circumstances (remoteness, severe weather, limited infrastructure and resources) regional arrangements are a practical means of meeting MARPOL obligations.
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Arctic Rescue

International Cooperation to Develop Arctic Emergency Preparedness
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Safety Systems in Implementation of Economic and Infrastructural Projects

Improving industrial and environmental safety related to economic and infrastructure projects, primarily the development of hydrocarbons on the Arctic continental shelf and transportation of related o...