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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Cold-weather training critical as race for arctic's natural resources heats up

Arctic submarineAlaska was known as Russian America before the Russian Empire sold it to the U.S. government in 1867.

The Russians built their North American colonies to tap into a rich fur-seal trade. When they sold the land for $7.2 million — after more than a century of occupation — the Russians were under financial duress and in fear of losing the territory in a future conflict with the British, with whom they fought the Crimean War in 1853-56.

Today the financial pressure is back, in the form of falling oil prices and Western sanctions after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and the quest for arctic resources is growing more intense. These days it’s oil and gas, rare earth elements and fisheries that are at stake in the far north.

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