Is Russia a revisionist military power in the Arctic?
In contrast with a widespread perception of Russia as an expansionist power in the Arctic, this article argues that Moscow does not seek military superiority in the region. Rather, Moscow’s military strategies in the Arctic pursue three major goals: first, to demonstrate and ascertain Russia’s sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the region; second, to protect its economic interests in the High North; and third, to demonstrate that Russia retains its great power status and still has world-class military capabilities. The Russian military modernization programs are quite modest and aim at upgrading the Russian armed forces in the High North rather than providing them with additional offensive capabilities or provoking a regional arms race. The Russian ambitions in the Arctic may be high, but they are not necessarily implying the intentions and proper capabilities to confront other regional players by military means. On the contrary, Moscow opts for soft rather than hard power strategy in the Arctic.