Russia to spend $44 bn on Arctic projects

April 6th, 2012 - 10:12 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, April 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia intends to spend 1.3 trillion rubles (around $44 billion) on economic and social projects in the Arctic till 2020, a minister said.

Viktor Basargin, minister for regional development, told government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that the state budget is expected to provide 503 billion rubles (around $17 billion) to create new transportation corridors in the Arctic.

The fund will also help develop new hydrocarbon deposits and social infrastructure, improve living standards of the local population, maintain the environment and culture of indigenous people, he said.

Another 724 billion rubles ($24.5 billion) is planned to be taken from regional budgets, he said.

Businesses are expected to provide another 80 billion rubles ($2.7 billion).

Arctic territories, seen as the key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the centre of mounting disputes between the US, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice, providing access to lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits.

Russia is planning to deploy a combined-arms force by 2020 to guard its political and economic interests in the Arctic.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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