Has Russia heard about the European Union's Arcticness? The EU's Arctic Steps as seen from Russia

Polar Record, Published online 26.03.2020. DOI: 10.1017/S0032247420000145

Ever since 2007/2008, the European Union (EU) and its various institutional actors have been developing a dedicated EU Arctic policy, setting common positions, stressing the EU’s Arctic credentials and prominently expressing its own “Arcticness”. These Arctic steps have been thoroughly scrutinised over the past decade. Yet, research has almost ignored one particular pillar of the EU’s Arctic endeavour: the “Arctic exception” in EU–Russia relations and the related lack of a distinct Russian dimension in the EU’s Arctic policy. Similarly, little is known of how the Russian side views the EU’s Arctic policy steps taken since 2008. The extensive transdisciplinary literature on EU–Russia relations has basically ignored how the EU has been represented in Russia ever since 1991. This article examines EU and Russian Arctic policies and their relations in the European North. In attempting to explore how the EU’s “Arcticness” has been presented, narrated and perceived in Russian media between 2008 and 2018, we draw upon an analysis of articles published on various Russian media platforms during that period. The study identified four core narratives of the EU’s engagement in the Arctic: the EU as player, as seeker, as prohibitor and as partner. These narratives provide evidence of the “Arctic exception” in EU–Russia relations, as well as offering some related explanations.



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