Climate change in the Arctic is impacting Russia's Arctic plans. As temperatures rise, thawing permafrost has increased the cost of repairs to existing facilities and infrastructure, especially runways. The rate of construction of new facilities more suited to the changing climate situation has also increased Russia's expenditures, which impacts the execution of their strategy.
Chinese investments in Russian Arctic energy projects are facing complications due to sanctions on Russia.
GEOINT analysis confirms Russian public declarations to expand the storage facilities at Okolnaya submarine support base and Gadzhiyevo submarine base.
Upgrades at Severomorsk-1 Air base increases Russia's operational readiness, presence, and capabilities in the northwest Arctic region, improving domain awareness and operational capacity around the Kola Peninsula. Further upgrades would expand operational capacity towards the GIUK-N Gap. However, GEOINT analysis shows slow construction progress.
Russia's military posture and the deployment of S-400s in its Western Arctic reflects the Soviet legacy of bastion defense comprised of "concentric circles" designed to protect strategic territory.
Alexandra Land provides air-sea-land capabilities that reinforce Russia’s multi-layered maritime and air denial power; safeguard the Kola Peninsula which is home to Northern Fleet headquarters and Russia's control over the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
Current imagery does not show evidence of the Russian government's plans to expand Tiksi Airbase into a Northern Fleet air defense base, complete with 11 interconnected structures, and a regiment of S-400 surface-to-air missiles.
In 2007 Russia re-prioritized the Arctic in keeping with Vladimir Putin's vision of restoring Russia's status as a great power. Now more than a decade later, Russia's military returns to the Arctic with strategic implications for the United States.