Hønneland, G., Russia and the Arctic: Environment, Identity and Foreign Policy, 2020

The world is currently witnessing an Arctic Scramble as the major powers compete to demarcate and occupy Arctic territory. The region is known to be home to large gas and oil reserves, and its position at the top of the globe holds significant trading and military advantages. Yet the territorial boundaries of the region remain ill-defined and Russia, under the increasingly bold foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, has emerged as a forceful power in the region.

Geir Hønneland investigates the political contexts and international tensions surrounding Russia s actions, focusing especially on the disputes which have emerged in the Barents Sea, where European and Russian interests compete directly. Skillfully delineating Russian policy in the region, and analyzing the mineral and environmental consequences of the recent treaty agreements, Russia and the Arctic is a crucial addition to our understanding of contemporary International Relations concerning the Polar North. This new updated edition takes into account Russia's recent moves in the Arctic region, and the development of the Arctic council.


Russia and the Arctic is a timely read. For those of us interested in the Arctic region and the role of the world's largest Arctic state, this is more than a reliable guide. It offers an intimate portrait of how Russians newspapers and public culture more generally engage with 'their Arctic' and 'their interests', and how we need to better understand this in the West. Geir Hønneland shows us how Russia's policies and practices towards the Arctic are part of what we might consider a 'demanding geopolitics' without demonizing Russia itself. The take-away message for me was that Russia's voice will be heard and Russia presence will be felt in the contemporary Arctic and beyond.” –  Professor Klaus Dodds, Royal Holloway, University of London, co-author of The Scramble for the Poles: The Contemporary Geopolitics of the Arctic and Antarctic (Polity, 2015),

“Honneland vividly contextualises different narratives of suspicion, hope and self-perception with broader frameworks of identity and Russianness. His personal tone, vast empirical data and the strong theoretical underpinning provide Russia and the Arctic with an identity itself. Apart from the ground-breaking knowledge that his book holds, it is also incredibly fun to read!” –  Nikolas Sellheim, University of Lapland, and book editor of the Polar Record, University of Cambridge,

“Geir Honneland's book explores the narrative environment in which Russian foreign policy is elaborated, and gives us unique insight on how sensitive Arctic issues are talked about in Russia. He also convincingly demonstrates the gap between narrative and action, and between the different actors in charge of Arctic affairs in Russia. A must-read book for all those wanting to go beyond the usual, confrontational Arctic buzz and comprehend Russia's policy.” –  Professor Marlene Laruelle, George Washington University, author of Russia's Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North (M.E. Sharpe, 2014)