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19 April 2017

Russia Unveil New Arctic Military Base with an Online Virtual Tour

Back in March, we reported on the unprecedented scale of Russia’s recent military activity in the Arctic, and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in their planned creation of various new military bases within the Arctic Circle. One such base is the Arctic Trefoil permanent base in Franz Josef Land, a remote archipelago in the Arctic Ocean consisting of 191 islands. In fact the only permanent inhabitants of the archipelago, a significant majority of which is glaciated (approx. 85%), are Russian military personnel.

The Russian Government has now chosen to somewhat shift from their usual policy of military secrecy by offering visitors to the official government website a virtual tour of the Arctic Trefoil base. The tour shows the main living quarters, including an impressive five-storey atrium. The ‘Trefoil’ name is in reference to the building’s three wings.

The entire facility covers 14,000sq miles (151,000sq ft), and can accommodate 150 staff alongside housing its own clinic, library, chapel, gym and cinema. It is also capable of providing its own electricity and has been built on stilts in order to help it cope in the bitter cold, as temperatures in the region can drop to a bone-chilling -40°C. It’s not all about such relative luxuries of course, demonstrated by the fact that the base is the second Putin-era Arctic base to be built specifically with air defence units in mind. Other reported purposes of the base include surveillance, naval defence, and access to resources such as oil and gas.

A military airstrip, called Nagurskoye, is also under construction in Franz Josef Land, giving further evidence of Russia’s intent to achieve air supremacy in the region.

As we discussed in our previous article, a major concern with such increased Arctic activity is the subsequent impact on the already struggling ice caps and ecosystems of the region. As Russia seemingly continue to push for military dominance and eventual control within the Arctic Circle, the planet is sure to suffer, and that’s never good news.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.