The Economist has an article on how the Russians are doing a bit of a symbolic ‘land/ocean grab’ in the Arctic. In a symbolic act, a Russian flag was planted on the seabed at the North Pole.
There are plenty of resources in the Arctic and:
Global warming is making them look more accessible. They may include 10 billion tonnes of oil and gas deposits, tin, manganese, gold, nickel, lead, platinum and diamonds, plus fish and perhaps even lucrative freight routes.
More from the article:
The latest Russian expedition is not just collecting geological samples; on Thursday August 2nd it placed the Russian flag (in titanium) on the yellow gravel 4,200 metres below the surface at the site of the North Pole.
Even more startling, though, was Russia’s rhetoric. “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence,” said Mr Chilingarov, a charismatic figure whom President Vladimir Putin has named as “presidential envoy” to the Arctic.
This was the first manned mission there [the seabed of the North Pole], mounted by a polar flotilla that no other country could match. For outsiders used to stories of Russian bungling and backwardness, that was a salutary reminder of the world-class technical clout and human genius the Kremlin can still command.