Two weeks ago, Sweden was gripped by a ludicrous panic when it dispatched virtually its entire army, navy and airforce to hunt down what according to eyewitness reports (subsequently proven to be false) was a Russian sub that had broken down somewhere close to Stockholm. There was no sub. However, one angle that made the story plausible were rumors of a recent surge to Russian military transports and support units to the Artcic, in a scramble to defend its vast natural resource deposits located close to the North Pole. And not surprisingly, this weaponization of the Artic was confirmed two days ago when a senior military commander said that Russia will build at least 13 airfields and 10 radar stations in the Arctic to safeguard the nation's military security in the region.
As cited by RIA, Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Management Center said: "We are planning to build 13 airfields, an air-ground firing range, as well as ten radar and vectoring posts."
The NS 50 Let Pobedy Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreaker
sails in the Arctic Ocean
Why the sudden rush to defend its national interests in this odd, cold place? Simple: this is Moscow's in-kind response to a comparable scramble by the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-US triangle as they do all they can to promote the "Syrian passage", allowing transit of Qatari nat gas into Europe, a gambit which for now has failed.
A number of political, economic and military measures have been taken over the past few years to protect Russia’s interests in the Arctic amid NATO’s increased focus on the region.
In April, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would build a unified network of military facilities on its Arctic territories to host troops, advanced warships and aircraft as part of a plan to boost protection of the country’s interests and borders in the region.
Over the past few years, Russia has been pressing ahead with efforts aimed at the development of its Arctic territories, including hydrocarbon production and development of the Northern Sea Route, which is gaining importance as an alternative to traditional routes from Europe to Asia.
Russia is no longer even hiding why it is pushing with the weaponization of the Arctic: "By next year Russia will be ready to meet unwelcome guests coming from any direction, after completing a network of radar stations in the Arctic," the Russian Defense Minister said.
Why, whoever could he be referfring to?
RT has some additional details on Russia great Arctic scramble:
The massive buildup of facilities in Russia's north is part of the country's strategy to ensure control of the Arctic. The military is currently rebuilding two northern bases in the Novosibirsk Islands and in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, Sergey Shoigu told the defense ministry's public council on Tuesday. Military airfields at Tiksi, Naryan-mar, Alykel, Vorkuta, Anadyr and Rogachevo have been scheduled for modernization.
“The plan involves the building of 13 airfields, one land test range for the Air Forces, 10 radar sites and direction centers,” said Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center, who took part in the session.
Shoigu said the most immediate result of the buildup would be total radar coverage of Russia's borders. Russia abandoned many of its less-crucial and more costly military installations after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but now wants them operational again.
“This year we will have total radar coverage and in 2015 we will be almost fully prepared to meet unwelcome guests from east and north,” the minister said.