The article considers the problem of delimitation of the Arctic maritime spaces at the close of the 19th century in the context of the Russian Empire, historical, political and legal factors that influenced the ambiguous and inconsistent policy of the Tsarist government in relation to island spaces having a direct historical and commercial connection with dozens of generations of the Russian Pomors. The role of fisheries and scientific research is substantiated as an ongoing policy of “effective occupation” in the Arctic Seas and archipelagoes. Spatial remoteness and total misunderstanding by the central authorities of the specifics of affairs in the Russian North led, ultimately, to a “policy of concessions” in relation to lands, as well as to the loss of geopolitical positions in the sea due to significant backwardness in technical equipment. The empire considered a certain benefit in the existence of “frontiers”, since unstable borders predetermined a potentially beneficial territorial acquisition, “accretion”, while its rigid fixation automatically served as a factor of self-restraint, which contradicted the very nature of the empire. The paper emphasizes the continuity of the process of scientific diplomacy, when science serves as one of the foundations of the territorial claims of states.
Source: Zaikov K., Cherkasov A., Tianming Gao, Loukacheva N. (2018). The Role of Marine Fisheries Research Expeditions of the 18th–19th centuries in Establishing Russian Political and Legal Presence in the Arctic. Bylye Gody. 2018. Vol. 50. Is. 4: 1456-1470
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