Cold Rush: the astonishing true story of the new quest for the polar North by Martin Breum

In which history repeats itself!

In 2007, Russia sent submarines to plant the Russian flag on the ocean floor underneath the North Pole. The statements initially released for external consumption pooh-poohed the notion that Russia has making a territorial claim, but internally the messaging was very different. Fast forward to 2021 and the closest human approximation to Orwell’s “Squealer” in Animal Farm, Sergey Lavrov, declared ““It has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory.”

China has also shown interest in the Arctic’s potential for mining and mineral resources despite having no obvious claim to any part of it by virtue of its geography.

Denmark makes a claim via its stake in Greenland (which has been angling for independence in recent years, primarily by its native Greenlander population). Americans and Canadians too have angled for possession of the Arctic, but the busiest body from a diplomatic standpoint has probably been Denmark. Denmark’s claim is bold if not audacious- they claim an area of the North five times larger than Denmark itself, but after lobbying for the formation of the Arctic Council (of which Russia assumed the 2021 chair), it has attempted to persuade its fellow council members that the North Pole should not become another Antarctica, a research station owned by no one, but rather a controlled by the coalition of the five members of the Arctic Council.

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