Finnish-Japanese cooperation

‘Russia’s final energy frontier – Sustainability challenges of the Russian Far North’

A Joint Call – AoF and JSPS, Japan. Partner in Japan: Hokkaido University.

The two-year (2014–2016) research project, co-funded by the Academy of Finland and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, analyses the role of internal factors, foreign businesses and international Arctic politics in the formation of energy policy in the Russian Far North, towards which the centre of gravity of Russia’s hydrocarbon production is shifting. The project also examines how this policy affects socioeconomic development and the environmental situation in the area.

Sub-themes of the project:

  1. What are the budgetary relations between the federal centre and the Russian Far Northern areas? How is energy wealth divided between the centre and the Northern regions?
  2. How do energy developments affect demographic trends in the Russian Far North?
  3. How does the hydrocarbon sector carry out its social and environmental responsibility in the Russian Far North? How do the rights of indigenous people play out in these policy practices?
  4. What is the future role of foreign companies in the development of the Russian Far North? How do they enter the markets and engage in the complex networks in the Russian Far North? How do they cooperate with other actors?
  5. What is the role of international politics in the Arctic, including Arctic environmental policy, in the formation of Russia’s energy policy in the Far North? How do politicization and securitization relate to energy policy formation?
  6. How does energy policy affect the future use of the Northern Sea Route?

In the Russian energy sector social responsibilities are taken care of in a narrow sense, e.g. guaranteeing employees’ amenities and rights, but it lacks a strategic approach to safeguard the long-term prospects of local communities. Environmental issues are part of the discourses, but in practice the actions in this field do not address the most pressing problems, such as the emissions from the oil industry. There are several obstacles preventing to overcome these problems. One of them is the fact that the availability of Western companies’ technologies is low, due to sanctions tied to the Ukrainian conflict and the political risks present in today’s Russia.

Involved partners include the University of Helsinki/Aleksanteri Institute and the University of Turku/Pan-European Institute, as well as a Japanese group of researchers. The researchers at the Pan-European Institute focus on the role of foreign companies in the development of the Russian Far North.

Results of the project in brief:

Research on the tariff policy on the NSR demonstrated that tariff policy has only limited effect on the attractiveness of the NSR in the
global context. Supply side appears much more important, i.e., how much cargo, in the first place natural resources extracted in the
Russian Arctic, will be transported along the NSR. This will also have a decisive effect on the NSR profitability.

Research on Arctic port development utilizes the structuration model to analyses opportunities and constraints to ports in the Arctic. The practical objective of this research is to introduce a dynamic multi-factor model for systematic evaluation of the policy environment in Arctic port development. Application of this model to the port of Sabetta demonstrates the uncertainty factors that could negatively affect port diversification and regionalization.

Research on regional development in YNAO puts on test the ‘resource curse’ hypothesis and seeks to find a relationship between the resource extraction and socio-economic and environmental indicators. It concludes that the limitations in data quality cannot give us a
comprehensive picture of the current state, thus, cannot inform planning for future development. It is proposed to integrate various data to develop relevant and actionable indicators for policy planning.

Research on Arctic policy communication build on the policy narrative framework and demonstrates how Russian government deploys two separate strategies when communication to the domestic audience and internationally. Tracing the relationship between the two
policy stories, this research shows what do the ‘national’ and the ‘global’ Arctic mean in contemporary Russian politics, and how they are interconnected.

Publications made within the project:

  1. Gritsenko, D., Kiiski, T. (2015) A review of Russian icebreaking tariff policy on the northern sea route 1991–2014, Polar Record
  2. Gritsenko, D., Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2017) Arktinen Venäjän poliittisessa viestinnässä, Idäntutkimus.
  3. Gritsenko, D. (2017) A local perspective on energy development in the High North, Aleksanteri Insight
  4. Gritsenko, D., Efimova, E. (2017) Policy environment analysis for Arctic seaport development: the case of Sabetta (Russia), Polar Geography
  5. Gritsenko, D. (2016) Needed: an interregional maritime knowledge hub:Transferring Baltic Sea best practices to the Arctic, Baltic Transport Journal
  6. Gritsenko, D. (2017) Arctic energy: Resource colonialism revisited
  7. Gritsenko, D. (2017) Challenges in Arctic port development. Can Sabetta become a multifunctional port?, Port Technology International
  8. Skryzhevska, L., Tynkkynen, V.-P., and Leppänen, S. (2015) Russia’s climate policies and local reality, Polar Geography
  9. Tynkkynen, N., Tynkkynen, V.-P.(2015) Venäjän ympäristön tila ja ympäristöpolitiikka, Tutkitusti
  10. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2016) Russia’s Arctic Natural Gas and the Definition of Sustainability, Cultural Anthropology
  11. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2017) Venäjän arktisen uusi suunta?:(Arktinenteemanumeron vieraileva päätoimittaja), Idäntutkimus
  12. Vanadzina, E., et al. (2015) Electricity production as an effective solution for associated petroleum gas utilization in the reformed Russian electricity market, International Conference on the European Energy Market
  13. Tynkkynen, V.-P., Tynkkynen, N. (2015) Greenpeace – Venäjän kansallisia intressejä vastaan?, Tutkitusti
  14. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2016) Energy as Power—Gazprom, Gas Infrastructure, and Geo-Governmentality in Putin’s Russia, Slavic Review
  15. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2016) Sports fields and corporate governmentality: Gazprom’s all-Russian gas program as energopower, Routledge Critical Studies in Sport
  16. Lappalainen, H. K., et al. (2016)  Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX): towards a holistic understanding of the feedbacks and interactions in the land–atmosphere–ocean–society continuum in the northern Eurasian region, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
  17. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2015) The Arctic Paradox and Russia’s Energy Policy / Arktinen paradoksi ja Venäjän energiapolitiikka, Aleksanteri Insight – Snapshots of Eurasia
  18. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2015) Gazprom – neuvostoministeriöstä globaaliksi energiajätiksi, Tutkitusti
  19. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2016) Russia’s Arctic Paradoxes, Baltic Rim Economies
  20. Mäkinen, H., Haaja, E. (2017) Political Risk of Western Oil and Gas Investments in Russia: Review of Media Coverage on ExxonMobil and Total in the Russian Arctic
  21. Haaja, E., Mäkinen, H. (2016) Need for international research on international business in the Russian Far North, Baltic Rim Economies
  22. Laaksonen, E. (2014) Concluding remarks on the Special Issue on the future of the Arctic – from researcher’s perspective, Baltic Rim Economies
  23. Haaja, E., Mäkinen, H. (2015) Kaikki meri- ja offshoreteollisuuden yritykset eivät käännä selkäänsä Venäjälle, Turun Sanomat
  24. Tynkkynen, V.-P., Tabata, S., Gritsenko, D., and Goto, M., eds. (2018) Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge
  25. Mäkinen, H., Haaja, E. (2018) Are Finnish Firms Willing to Explore the Russian Maritime and Offshore Industry? Perceptions of Finnish SMEs of the Russian Market and Export Collaboration, in Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko & Masanori Goto, eds., Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge
  26. Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2018) Introduction: Contested Russian Arctic, in Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko & Masanori Goto, eds., Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge
  27. Gritsenko, D., Efimova, E. (2018) Planning for a Sustainable Arctic: Regional development in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Russia), in Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko & Masanori Goto, eds., Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge
  28. Gritsenko, D., Tynkkynen, V.-P. (2018) Telling domestic and international policy stories: The case of Russian Arctic policy, in Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko & Masanori Goto, eds., Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge

Project researchers:
Elisa Aro
Daria Gritsenko
Eini Haaja
Jussi Huotari
Eini Laaksonen
Kari Liuhto
Hanna Mäkinen
Hanni Selin
Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen

Posts about the events and publication related to this project can be accessed via the hashtag Fin-Jap cooperation.