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Russia's Arctic Troops: Extreme Weather Warriors in Action (Video)

Russia’s army is ready and able to conduct military operations in the Arctic

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider

In the near future, the Arctic will play an important role in (geo)politics for several reasons. Climate change has led to the ice cap shrinking and thinning at an unprecedented rate and scale, obliging countries that surround its borders to become ever more active in asserting their interests in the region.

The reasons are many:

<figcaption>Russia’s Arctic Military Forces</figcaption>
Russia’s Arctic Military Forces

Energy: The region is a very promising energy frontier. The US Geological Survey World Petroleum Assessment of 2008 attributed 22% of the world's undiscovered energy resources to the Arctic.

Economy: With shipping routes becoming navigable, the Arctic holds promise in providing economic opportunities, with new markets and lower transport costs.

Military: There are several factors that contribute to the region's strategic value for Russia from a military standpoint. In Soviet times, some of the most important sea-based nuclear forces were stationed with the Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula.

The Arctic will likely become a pressing issue in the foreseeable future. Longstanding disputes such as border demarcation, must be negotiated and resolved peacefully amongst the nations involved.

The strategic importance of the region does not come as a surprise, since Russia is already in the process of reopening their military base on Kotelny Island, off the eastern coast of Siberia. Built in Soviet times, it is now being brought back to life and should be fully operational by 2016.

In this sense, the ongoing Russian Army exercises are essential in adapting tactics, vehicles and men to a harsh climate. Among the most difficult challenges of operating in this kind of environment are:

  1. Rapid exhaustion of infantry traversing through deep snow,
  2. inoperative firearms and machinery that need special lubricants to work at such low temperatures,
  3. human efficiency and survival requiring training to be able to respond in certain situations.

For these reasons, Russia's military is extensively training in this environment to be prepared and operate in the best possible conditions, if necessary.

Check out this video with Russian forces training and working together in such impervious terrain and conditions. 


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