Cold Rush: Trade, Energy and Cryptocurrency in the Russian Arctic and Beyond
With rising global temperatures due to climate change, ice coverage in the Arctic sea has been steadily shrinking. For Russia, its roughly 5,000 kilometers of Arctic coastline are increasingly becoming resource goldmines, particularly in energy and gas deposits. Russia isn’t the only player in the game: countries from the US to Canada to China and Iceland want a stake in this novel and treasure-laden environment. The Arctic is poised to be a center for state conflict and Great Power competition as it becomes more and more accessible. I looked at three elements of Russia’s Arctic strategy: a major trade route (the Northern Sea Route); an up-and-coming “national champion” (the liquid natural gas company Novatek); and the emerging field of Arctic and Siberian cryptocurrency mining and blockchain integration. All three of these areas reveal something different and unique about Russia’s ambitious Arctic grand strategy, and required slightly different methodological approaches.