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Power in cross-border Cooperation

The volume explores a question that sheds light on the contested, but largely cooperative, nature of Arctic governance in the post-Cold War period: How do power relations matter – and how have they mattered – in shaping cross-border cooperation and diplomacy in the Arctic? Through carefully selected case studies – from Russia’s role in the Arctic Council to the diplomacy of indigenous peoples’ organisations – this book seeks to shed light on how power performances are enacted constantly to shore up Arctic cooperation in key ways. The conceptually driven nature of the enquiry makes the book appropriate reading for courses in international relations and political geography, while the carefully selected case studies lend themselves to courses on Arctic politics.

documents can all tell a story about the region. This chapter seeks to highlight how these representations of the region –​ or the way in which circumpolar policy issues are framed by narrative and images –​are a manifestation of and serve to shape power relations in the region. Consider the selection of the three maps in Figures 4–​6 as an illustration of the various ways of representing the region. Figure 4 illustrates the bird migration routes connecting one nesting ground in Arctic Alaska with populations around the world. Like the ice-​locked whales discussed in

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Theorising Arctic hierarchies

within a policy field. While hegemony is frequently tied to world-​order thinking, hierarchies can differ across global policy fields and can change without disrupting broader stability in world politics. The literature on hierarchy directs us to the following questions. Who is seen to lead in circumpolar politics? What are the functions and benefits of different roles at different places on the hierarchy? How are hierarchies tied to more deeply held identities? These questions allow us to explore a second proposition about power: namely that as policy fields come

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’ coordinated chorus on the peaceful nature of the region can quickly sound too good to be true. However, if we reveal and understand better the efforts and alliances and inequalities and contestations that shore up this state of cross-​border cooperation, the Arctic ‘peace’ becomes a more recognisable  –​and possibly more replicable –​ dynamic. A focus on power is timely. The Arctic lies in an uncertain zone of the changing post-​Cold War global geopolitical imagination. While fostering narratives of circumpolar conflict (and actual conflict in other parts of the world

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corresponded poorly with dominant framings of the Arctic as a wild and sparsely populated landscape (see Chapter 2). On the other hand, it is a bit surprising, in that Russia is decidedly the largest Arctic state and the country’s involvement was seen as essential to securing effective circumpolar cooperation, as we have seen in Chapter 3. There are few other examples of proposed project ideas in the Arctic Council falling between the cracks publicly as this did. However, if we fast-​forward to 2017, Russia has since successfully co-​chaired the three binding agreements

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A power perspective on Arctic governance

Poe put it, the circumpolar North is frequently envisioned as fundamentally apart from the complexities, indeterminacies and intricacies of life and politics in other parts of the globe. We see some of this exceptionalism in the application of dichotomies to the Arctic: the Arctic will either be preserved as humanity’s last wilderness, or plundered by coastal states jealously guarding their natural resource treasure chests. All Arctic states are completely equal in Arctic governance, or the USA and Russia dominate militarily and diplomatically against a veneer of

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New stories on rafted ice

organisations, like the Inuit Circumpolar Council, made a similar contribution to a conceptualisation of the Arctic as a region that transected state borders (Vik and Semb, 2013). It is important to keep in mind that the indigenous Arctic has long been a place of mobility and interconnection, even as North–​South ties remained non-​existent, weak or contested (see Dodds and Nuttall, 2015; and McGhee, 2006 for a circumpolar discussion). Historical interconnections in the Bering Strait are an interesting example of this (Fitzhugh and Crowell, 1988). While the Cold War period

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into the executive in Russia, 120 Arctic governance in the previous chapter, may make the Arctic Council one of the more important meeting spaces for a Russian organisation to meet Russian authorities. To take an Arctic example of a statement made to a broad audience, including the Arctic Council member states, ‘A circumpolar Inuit declaration on sovereignty in the Arctic’ made assertions about the peoplehood of the circumpolar Inuit, to mitigate the sovereign claims of states (see Beyers, 2014 for an extended discussion): The conduct of international relations in

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constituted the foundation for life.14 In the more barren Murmansk Oblast, which geographically corresponds to the Kola Peninsula, fisheries and mining provided the industrial foundation for the creation of large human settlements after World War I, rendering 4 International environmental agreements in Russia the region the most densely populated area of the Circumpolar Arctic during the last half of the twentieth century.15 The fishing grounds of the adjacent Barents Sea are among the most productive in the world, and the mineral deposits of the Kola Peninsula, mainly

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia

, the population is around 1,034,500. In spite of the recent fall in population, this still makes Murmansk one 58 International environmental agreements in Russia of the most densely populated areas in the entire circumpolar north (7.1 people per km2). The overwhelming majority of the population (92 per cent) is concentrated in the region’s widely scattered urban settlements. There are 16 cities in the oblast, the largest being Murmansk with 387,400 inhabitants (down from more than 468,000 at the end of the Soviet period), Apatity (70,600), Monchegorsk (59

in Implementing international environmental agreements in Russia