Anatoly Karlin (of Sublime Oblivion) has launched a new blog dedicated entirely to the Arctic.
Arctic Progress looks set to be an important blog covering a region that, until now, has received little mainstream coverage and certainly no real blog coverage that I’m aware of. And it seems as if Anatoly has picked a perfect time to launch his blog – arctic ice is melting, opening up direct shipping routes between Europe and Asia, oil deposits are being discovered all over the place (the latest is in Greenland), and the region’s ecology is in delicate balance, so whatever happens over the next fifty years will shape the destiny of this region, and perhaps even the world.
As Anatoly notes, “Arctic history begins this year… We are the observers of the start of a new era.”
Russia is one of the major countries with an interest in the region (others include the United States, Canada and the Scandinavian countries) so I’m sure that Arctic Progress will contain plenty of information relevant to Russia-watchers.
One interesting post relevant to Russia that’s already appeared is Anatoly’s report that, after receiving a $5 billion bailout from Russia last year, Iceland has offered its Keflavik airbase to ECA Program Ltd, a private military company that plans to station up to 30 Su-27 fighter jets there. ECA plan to buy the jets from Belarus (price not known, but it would be the largest purchase of military jets by a private company to date) and to use them for mock-dogfights that will help to train air-forces around the world.
Anatoly speculates that they could be a front for either the Russian or Chinese secret services, or potentially even a US “black-operations” programme. Having done a bit of research on PMCs in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if the less prosaic truth is that it simply a company with an innovative, albiet very expensive and politically sensitive, idea to make money.
Having read the initial posts over at Arctic Progress I know I’ll be subscribing. I encourage you to check it out too.