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Federal Russian Politics: Modernizing Northern Economies (FEDRUP)

This project studies the theoretical scope and practical accomplishments of federal Russian authorities in modernizing important northern industries such as shipbuilding and offshore technology (including developments in the Northern Fleet), mining and metallurgy, as well as fisheries.

The project also studies federal policies for the North more widely and includes a macroeconomic analysis of the relationship between Moscow and the north-western federal subjects.

While the study's main emphasis is on Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Oblasts, it is not limited to these federal subjects.

The point of departure is that the Soviet legacy implies structural features that leave Russian industry in need of change. 'Modernization' has become something of a catchphrase in Russian politics under President Medvedev, but we approach the term analytically, investigating what it means in Russian political discourse and practice.

In the four sub-studies – on federal policies for the North in general and in the three chosen sectors – we combine political science, historical, economic, legal and geographical competence. We ask how the sector has traditionally been governed and what traces of the Soviet heritage are still visible. What is the legal point of departure, and how is current policy reflected in official documents and statements by decision makers? To what extent can policy be characterized as top-down, i.e. ruling by decree or by introducing regulatory and other incentives to induce enterprises to behave as desired by federal authorities?

Further, we look at economic realities in the North-West. To what extent are federal policies implemented? Are the objectives established by federal authorities achieved? Is federal political action sufficient to change economic realities on the ground? Is there any evidence that Soviet-style 'rule by decree' has been accompanied by political and economic liberalization aimed at spurring change from the bottom up?

Project leader: Geir Hønneland

Project period: 2011-2014


Jørgensen, Anne-Kristin and Geir Hønneland, 'In cod we trust: Konjunkturer i det norsk-russiske fiskerisamarbeidet' ('In Cod We Trust: Trends in Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Relations'). Nordisk Østforum, Vol 27, No 4, 2013, pp. 353-376. In Norwegian.
 Related focal points of research:

   Arctic and Russian politics

Project funding:

   Research Council of Norway, NORRUSS Programme

 External cooperation partners:

   The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
   University of Tromsø
   Statistics Norway

 Recent media coverage

'Markedet presser russisk industri til modernisering' ('The Market Forces Russian Industry to Modernize'), Research Council of Norway News, 01.10.2013. In Norwegian.

'Flukten fra Murmansk' ('Escaping Murmansk'), Syd-Varanger Avis, 29.11.2012. In Norwegian. Page 1. Page 2.

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