Fortum builds Russia’s largest wind farm

Professor Tynkkynen provided comments for Yle’s new article “Fortum rakentaa Venäjän suurinta tuulipuistoa – Turbiineja arvostellaan Putinia myöten: “Ne värähtelevät niin, että madot ryömivät maasta“. Venäjä kehittää tuuli- ja aurinkovoimaa. Se ei kuitenkaan aio irtautua fossiilisesta energiasta” (Fortum builds Russia’s largest wind farm – Turbines were criticized by Putin: “They vibrate so that worms crawl out of the ground”. Russia is developing wind and solar power. However, it does not intend to break away from fossil energy.)

Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Associate Professor of Russian Environmental Studies at the University of Helsinki, does not believe that Russia’s current leadership wants to, or even can, move away from fossil fuels.

– Putin’s administration is clinging to hydrocarbons. Their role in the economy and society in general is too big, says Tynkkynen, referring to the role of the traditional energy sector in the country’s power structures and in building the nation’s identity.

Read full article on Yle website.

China in the Polar “Zone of Peace”

Sanna Kopra wrote an article for the Ecowall – a collaborative research platform seeking a clearer picture of the China-Europe relationship in all its dimensions, The article is titled “China in the Polar “Zone of Peace”” and aims to answer a question “what kind of security risks for the Arctic states and peoples could accompany China’s regional engagement?”

At present, however, the emerging security impact of China’s growing Arctic foothold remains mainly political and economic in nature. If the economies of northern municipalities or entire Arctic states become very dependent on Chinese investments, their vulnerability to fluctuations in the Chinese economy, for example, may increase. Such economic dependence might also result in political pressure to pay greater attention to China’s interests in political decision-making at a local or national level, even to a degree that Arctic states’ own values and national interests – including long-term economic interests – are adversely affected.

Read article online here.

Arctic Spirit Conference

On 12-13 of November the Arctic Spirit conference was organised in Rovaniemi. The Conference is an official side event of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Thus, the Conference also enhances Arctic discussion during the Presidency.

This year the conference focused on climate change, especially from the viewpoint of young people and future generations living in the Arctic. The first conference day consisted of invited keynote speeches and panel discussions focusing on the voice of Arctic youth and the different levels of climate-related decision-making. From our research group, Sanna Kopra participated in the panel discussion “Climate Decision-Making – Why Is It So Difficult?”.

On the second day, the parallel thematic sessions looked at the main theme from various angles. Alla Bolotova and Elena Gorbacheva participated in the “Live, Work Or Leave? Youth-Well-Being And The Viability Of Arctic Towns And Cities” session and gave a presentation “Recycling initiatives of youth in industrial cities in the Russian Arctic: environmentally responsible behaviour in the absence of structural opportunities”. The session was arranged by the Wollie project, and many of the project’s participants from Russia and Finland shared their current results. The session lasted all day and culminated with a fruitful discussion on what is special about the Arctic youth in different states – or is there anything special about it at all?

More information about the Arctic Spirit can be found on the conference website.

Suomen kaasumarkkina avautuu ja kaasu alkaa virrata Viron ja Suomen välillä – Vaikutus: hinta laskee, huoltovarmuus paranee, riippuvuus Venäjästä vähenee

Professor Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen provided comments for the new newspaper article “Suomen kaasumarkkina avautuu ja kaasu alkaa virrata Viron ja Suomen välillä – Vaikutus: hinta laskee, huoltovarmuus paranee, riippuvuus Venäjästä vähenee” (“Finnish gas market opens and gas starts to flow between Estonia and Finland – Impact: price falls, security of supply improves, dependence on Russia decreases”).

So far, Finland has been almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas, says Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Assistant Professor of Russian Environmental Policy at the Aleksanteri Institute.

– The gas pipeline from Estonia will allow competitive tendering, which is likely to affect Russian gas pricing as well. The market price is expected to fall by at least a few percent, but the impact may be greater, Tynkkynen estimates.

The article can be read in Finnish or Russian online.

Modernization of Russian district heating systems with the help of biomass energy – A Gordian knot?

Doctoral Candidate Hilma Salonen published her new article “Modernization of Russian district heating systems with the help of biomass energy – A Gordian knot?” in “Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions” journal.

The article discusses the prospects of local wood waste resources as replacements for fossil fuel imports in the remote settlements of the Russian North from a viewpoint of a case study: the Arkhangelsk region and its outdated heating and fossil fuel delivery systems. Drawing on energy transition literature and expert interviews, the most influential factors are defined in geographic-infrastructural, institutional, financial, and behavioral contexts. In conclusion, the article determines that a key issue is that the constraints for alternative energy sources reinforce each other, while the actors working for them find themselves in an isolated position. This is especially true for the institutional and financial constraints. However, by examining the enabling factors it is possible to see how the bundle of constraints could also be undone together. Most efficient way for success would likely be helping municipalities and actors in the fields of biomass and energy production to form joint clusters and share resources.

This enlightening article can be read online.

Aurora Forum in Scotland

On 31.10-02.11 Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen participated in Aurora Forum in Edinburgh, The United Kingdom. Professor Tynkkynen took part the panel “The Arctic – climate, defence, infrastructure, energy; the challenges faced. How might the future look? What can the UK learn from the Nordic and Baltic Region?”

“Arktiset luonnonvarat – Fossiilitaloutta vai jotain muuta” luento Eiran aikuislukiossa

Today our PhD students Sohvi Kangasluoma and Hilma Salonen gave a lecture “Arktiset luonnonvarat – Fossiilitaloutta vai jotain muuta” (Arctic natural resources – Fossil economy or something else). The lecture was a part of Arktinen ulottuvuus integraatiokurssi (Arctic dimension integration course), organised at the Eira High School for Adults. The doctoral candidates say that the audience was genuinely interested and engaged in active discussion with them.

EU:n riippuvuus venäläisestä fosfaatista kasvaa – ”Johtoryhmällä tiukat kytkökset Putinin hallintoon”

Talouselämä published a new article EU:n riippuvuus venäläisestä fosfaatista kasvaa – ”Johtoryhmällä tiukat kytkökset Putinin hallintoon” (EU dependence on Russian phosphate grows – ‘Senior management group has strong ties to Putin’s administration’) with Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen’s comments in it.

“In Brussels, we imagine that the EU is a united player. However, it does not have a common voice on issues related to strategic natural and energy resources,” says Tynkkynen.

Read the full article on the newspaper’s website.

Nadir Kinossian’s review of the “Russia’s Far North: The contested Energy Frontier”

Nadir Kinossian wrote a review of the “Russia’s Far North: The contested Energy Frontier” book, edited by Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, Shinichiro Tabata, Daria Gritsenko and Masanori Goto.

This is a timely and important book because it addresses a number of critical issues shaping the future of the Arctic, such as energy, transportation, sustainability, security, international cooperation, and economic development. Russia has historically been a prominent player in the Arctic and currently is seeking to increase its presence there. Russias activities aimed to exploit the untapped natural resources, upgrade the Northern Sea Route (NSR), claim extended parts of the Arctic continental shelf, and boost its military presence in the region attract growing attention in academic and policy circles. Russia is not a sole actor seeking to use the regions natural resources. Arctic and non-Arctic states, as well as non-state players, seek to explore economic opportunities in the region, which suggests that governing regimes for the Arctic have to respond to the increasing number of actors, interests, and risks associated with economic activities in the region.

The title of this edited volume, Russias Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier , implies the somewhat uncertain status of Russias northern peripheries, their openness for colonization, competition, and possibly contestation. To what extent is such vision of the region accurate?The authors apply various disciplinary perspectives to analyze actors, regimes, and processes that shape the future of the Arctic. While dierent chapters contribute to the debates in specic policy areas, the volume oers an overview of Russias Far North as a dynamic area of governance and policy. The books comprehensive scope makes it extremely valuable for researchers and policy-makers interested in the Arctic. As a detailed reection on all 15 chapters in this edited volume would be an impossibility, this review has to be selective.

The review is published in the latest issue of “Polar Geography” and can be read here.

Aleksanteri Conference 2019

Tomorrow starts 3-day Aleksanteri Conference 2019 “Technology, Culture, and Society in the Eurasian Space”, and this year again several researchers from our team are participating in it.

Here are the panels where you can see the members of our team:

23.10, 17:15-18:45 2F: Cultural Technologies of the Production of ‘Nature’ panel, Alla Bolotova will present a paper “Zoned Perception of the Environment in Industrialized Russian Arctic: ‘Nature’ vs. ‘Natural Recources'”.
24.10, 11:00-12:30 Alla Bolotova and Elena Gorbacheva talk about “Recycling Initiatives of Youth in Industrial Cities in the Russian Arctic: Environmentally Responsible Behaviour in the Absence of Structural Opportunities” at the “4C: Prospects for Green Growth in Russia” panel.
Dmitry Yagodin at the same time will be discussant at the 4A: Russian Information Influence and Democracy in Europepanel.
25.10, 14:00-15:30, Dmitry Yagodin will chair and be discussant at the “7F: Online Activism” panel and Francesco Durante will chair the “7C: New Social Policy and Governance in Russia: Research and Practice” panel.

More information can be found on the conference website.