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Russia’s Polar Pivot

Russia’s Polar Pivot

MOSCOW — In order to secure its large swath of the resource-rich Arctic, Moscow has created a new Northern Command structure under which ground, sea and air units are being deployed to reopened Soviet-era bases along Russia’s northern frontier.

The Soviet Union maintained a formidable presence in the Arctic. It established a stretch of air bases for long-range strategic bombers and radar stations and anti-air batteries to keep American bombers at bay.

With the Arctic becoming increasingly contested, and Russia’s economy continuing its deep dependence on resource exports, Moscow has been beefing up its military presence in the region to assert control over as much territory as it can, reopening old Soviet bases and constructing new ones.

“These efforts cannot be explained by any requirements that exist today or will arise in the near future,” Anton Lavrov, an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies wrote in Moscow Defense Brief, the center’s monthly publication.
“Russia is not facing any direct military threats from the north. Its military buildup in the Arctic pursues long-term goals rather than any immediate objectives,” he added.

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