Monday, September 15, 2008

You can see Russia from my house...

...and visit Russians there too:
Alaska’s oilfield service and support companies continue to find opportunity to provide technical expertise to the efforts to develop natural resources in the Russian Far East (RFE).

Alaska’s ties to Russia are historically strong. In the past decade the interest of Russian officials in Alaska’s economic development models has emerged. There has been particular interest by Russian representatives in understanding the experiences of Alaska as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the establishment of Alaska Native corporations.

Three important visits occurred in 2006. In February, Kamil Shamilievich Iskhakov, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President to the Far Eastern Federal District, and Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich, visited Alaska to meet with state officials, Native corporation officials, economists, and other economic development experts. In May, the Council of Federation’s committee for Northern issues came to Alaska. Sergey Matveev, a Council of Federation representative and first deputy chairman of the Council’s Committee on Issues of the Northern Territories and Indigenous Minorities, led the 2006 delegation. In the summer, Representative Iskhakov returned with an extremely high-ranking delegation of more than 50 officials, including nine governors of the Russian Far East and the elected heads of most of the RFE provincial legislatures.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s 17th District and the Russian Federal Security’s North-Eastern Coast Guard Department have cooperated closely in observing and protecting marine resources in the North Pacific Ocean since 1992. Their cooperation promotes safe and legal operations in convention areas and their regular exchanges on fisheries-related situations are part of successful management of the North Pacific and Bering Sea.

The Institute of the North, an educational and research non-profit organization in Anchorage, continued its work with the Russian Federation on issues of improving infrastructure related to aviation and transportation corridors, telecommunications and marine links. Former Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel, founder of the Institute, co-chaired a conference in Moscow on Transport Mega Projects of the 21st Century, which primarily focused on the concept of a tunnel being constructed linking Alaska and the Russian Far East. The Institute will also be hosting the Arctic Energy Summit Technology Conference in Anchorage in October 2007, which will include energy experts from Moscow, Khanty-Mansisyk and other regions of Russia.

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