Russian Foreign Policy towards the Arctic : International Cooperation and National Interests in Synergy

Master’s Thesis written under the supervision of Pr Yves Surel.

Abstract : Based on assumptions as to its promising energy potential, the Arctic attracts the interest of coastal states, but also that of non-Arctic actors and observers – at both micro and macro levels.
In a context of significant disagreements between the Russian Federation and most Western states, Russia’s foreign policy towards the Arctic is particularly commented on. Some describe Russian strategy as aggressive and expansionary, while others consider it as purely defensive.
This research aims to demonstrate that international cooperation is Russia’s top priority in the Arctic, as long as it’s not detrimental to Russian economic development and political stability. This position is not specific to the Arctic Policy. Although driven by its national interests, the promotion of interstate cooperation and the effectiveness of International Law tend to be consistent stances that govern Russian Foreign Policy.

NB: “Western states” refers to states from North America and Europe, considered as democratic and industrialized while operating on a capitalist economic model.