During his annual end-of-the-year press-conference, held in Moscow yesterday, December 14, President Vladimir Putin have answered a question about the Arctic. Here is the extract:

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D.Shuchalina: Good day, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

I am Daria Shuchalina, “Komi Mu” newspaper, Komi Republic.

My question in about the Arctic. On Your view, what priorities should the regions set regarding their project activities – I mean the northern territories, - in order to serve as our county’s stronghold in development of the Arctic? In other words, which projects are first priority and need to be supported within Arctic development strategy?

 

V.Putin: Let's start with this. We have the whole program regarding Arctic development. The priority point here is that the industrial development of the Arctic, including the extraction of raw materials, various types of them… I want to repeat it once more, to paraphrase our great scholar Lomonosov, when he said that Russia's wealth will grow with Siberia. Now the wealth of Russia should grow with the Arctic.

This place holds our main mineral reserves. But development of these mineral reserves should go in parallel with concern for nature and in compliance with all activity requirements in this very sensitive region. This is the first.

The second is provision of security in this region, both environmental and military. I remember, when I was on Franz Josef Land a few years ago foreign guides were telling their groups of tourists, that these islands until recently used to belong to Russia. They have somehow forgotten that they are, in fact, Russian islands, but now they have been reminded, and everything is fine there. We also should not forget about that.

And, finally, there is one more important consideration. We must never forget the interests of indigenous peoples of the Arctic. This is an extremely important thing. We must not violate their traditional economic interests and so on. And if anything will inevitably come into contradiction with implementation of large-scale national projects, undoubtedly, compensatory and substitution measures should be taken. Therefore, this is a challenging task. And I hope we will approach it accordingly.

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