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Palgrave Macmillan

Arctic Politics, the Law of the Sea and Russian Identity

The Barents Sea Delimitation Agreement in Russian Public Debate

ISBN 9781137414052
Publication Date April 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Political interest in the Arctic has been growing rapidly in recent years, with Russia – the Arctic state with the longest shoreline – at the centre of attention. A first indication of Russia's stance on Arctic delimitation politics came with the 2010 signing of the agreement with Norway to divide the long-disputed area in the Barents Sea into two equal parts. The agreement was hailed in the international community as a sign of Russian willingness to compromise in Arctic politics. Segments of the Russian public, however, saw it as a veritable act of treason and the agreement barely scraped through the ratification process in the State Duma.

This book analyses the Russian opposition to the delimitation agreement in light of both the Law of the Sea and Russian identity, arguing that the agreement's critics and proponents inscribe themselves into different Russian narratives about Russia's rightful place in the world.

Geir Hønneland is Research Director at Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway. He has published widely on Arctic politics, the Law of the Sea and Russian identity, including Borderland Russians: Identity, Narrative and International Relations (2013).

1. Arctic Scramble, Russian Compromise
2. Jurisdiction and Fisheries Management in the Barents Sea
3. Russian Reactions to the Barents Sea Delimitation Agreement
4. Russia and the West – the Foreign Policy Perspective
5. Russia and the West – the Everyday Perspective
6. Looking up to the West


'Geir Hønneland once again shows in this book his unique capability of providing insight into highly complex contexts by providing an analysis that is rooted in his personal experiences. [...] It goes without saying that Arctic politics, the law of the sea and Russian identity will serve as a work of reference in order to [...] understand Russian identity and politics.' – Nikolas Sellheim, Polar Record, Cambridge University Press, 2014
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