The Frozen Commons: Possibilities and Limitations in International Environmental Development in the Russian Arctic
Wishard, David William
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This study relies on social science research on the causal mechanisms of capacity improvement to assess multilateral, environmental interventions in the Russian Arctic. The case studies reveal the occasions wherein target linking, commitment making, behavioral influence, and knowledge production played significant roles in influencing Russian institutions to take sustainable, environmental action. This theoretical basis enables an assessment of the Arctic Council’s unique use of knowledge production as a mechanism of influence. This assessment is achieved through a case study in the Council’s first and only major intervention into the Russian Arctic, the National Program of Action (NPA). Unlike other Council programs that coordinate multilateral research, the NPA tried to intervene directly into Russian policy-making by transferring the knowledge it generated into recommended regulations. However, none of these draft laws were ever passed. The study concludes that Russia accepts new environmental commitments, adapts its environmental targets, and acts on new knowledge when doing so intersects candidly with interests that are connected to Russian economics and defense.