On October 21, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree (in Russian) declaring that the State Technical University in Arkhangelsk, Russia will transform into the Northern (Arctic) Federal University. Arkhangelsk was medieval Russia’s primary seaport and is nicknamed the “Gateway to the Arctic.”
The transformation from a state to a federal university must take place within the next three months. The new university will continue to be a member of the University of the Arctic, a joint international network of universities and colleges in the Arctic that promotes the study of the circumpolar region, with an emphasis on local and indigenous perspectives. Members of UArctic come from throughout the High North, including universities in Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and even south of the 49th parallel in the northern United States. You can view a map of the University of the Arctic network here (also available for Google Earth).
The Northern Federal University in Arkhangelsk will promote Russian geopolitical interests in the region. I wouldn’t be surprised if the institution ends up playing a large role in producing research to support Russian attempts to secure territorial claims around the North Pole, particularly as Russia embarks on a new quest to document its seabed claims during the next two years. Scientists and researchers at the university will also aid efforts to look for oil and gas in the region.
“Arkhangelsk to become center for higher education in the Arctic,” Barents Observer