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Russia To Set Up Arctic Border Posts

April 16, 2012

The daily "Izvestiya" reports that Russia's border service plans to establish 20 new Arctic border posts.

The head of the Federal Security Service's (FSB) border service, Vladimir Pronichev, said the new posts are part of larger plans for the North Sea Route that include nine rescue centers for the Emergency Situations Minister and Ministry of Transportation.

Pronichev said the government's program calls for 15-20 border guards to be stationed at each of the locations.

Pronichev admitted "at first glance" there seems to be no need for border posts in the remote northern regions of Russia. But he said that in recent years there have been incidents when "foreign tourists" ventured into Russia's northern waters without permission and unprepared for the conditions there and needed rescue.

He also said "scientific expeditions" carry out exploration there without official permission.

Melting ice and technological improvements have opened new possibilities for developing hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic, where some believe 25 percent of the world's oil and gas is located.

The "Izvestiya" article also quotes "vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Konstantin Sivkov" as saying the approximately 40 "radiolocation" posts set up during Soviet times were all destroyed in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Sivkov reminded that the 20 new border posts will have to monitor a 6,000-kilometer coastline, meaning "each border post will have to control some 300 kilometers" of coastline.

"Izvestiya" reported the new border guards would have training not only in search and rescue, and presumably defending Russia's national borders, but also repair and maintenance of electrical stations, water systems, communications, computer systems for the new posts, and be able "to support" the landing and takeoff of planes.

With reporting from "Izvestiya"

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia_arctic_border_posts_oil/24549172.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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