Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


German and Russian Department

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Kevin McKenna


Russia, Vladimir Putin, Arctic Circle, NATO, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics


The Arctic Circle is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and with the shrinking polar caps, there exists an abundance of undiscovered oil, other natural resources, fish, and the prospect of fast and efficient sea routes. Unlike Antarctica on the opposite pole, the Arctic is a frozen ocean surrounded by continents with United States, Denmark, Russia, Canada, and Norway all laying claim to the area of exploitable territory. Russia in particular has the most vested interest in the area, covering half the coastline and inhabiting three-fourths of the Arctic population. In addition, composing 11% of Russia’s national income and an estimated 30% of the world’s undiscovered oil, the Arctic has been deemed vital to its national security and economic revival. My research project will demonstrate the importance of the Arctic Circle for Russian identity and national pride as well as the vitality of the region for its economy, particularly the oil industry. It will also seek to express Russia’s potential for cooperation with other Arctic states based on President Vladimir Putin’s Arctic policy, justified military activity and geopolitical actions and discredit Western authors claiming Russia intends to start a new “Cold War” over the region. My research will lastly present implications facing the future of the Arctic and provide policy recommendations as potential solutions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.