What are your impressions of the event? What did you like best about the program?
Tatevik: I have only the best impressions. The one week program was very busy. The day started at 8 a.m. and ended late at night. What I liked best about the event, was the time dedicated to the solution of case, because this moment gave us the opportunity to apply our knowledge and experience. It was interesting to listen to everybody’s ideas.
Robert: My impressions are nothing but positive, that was the first experience for me to be a part of such kind of event. The status of the forum let to set great store, and all of my expectations were satisfied, first of all, in the educational part of the program. We had a great opportunity to have a talk with leading politicians and intellectuals of the country, including the state leaders, ask questions and get answers directly from them on the spot. No less interesting was the part of the solution of case. Since the day program was very eventful, we decided to spend the nights in tents solving the case. We had only 2-3 hours of sleep per day.
Forum’s participants were divided into teams of 14 people from different parts of Russia and countries. What case did your team solve?
Tatevik: There were 14 specialists in each team – from specialists in the field of oil and gas chemistry to doctors and ecologists. They are all engaged in the Arctic issues and want to connect their future with this unique region. The core of the event was a real case to develop a conception of “reference areas” (development zones) in the Arctic Region through the example of the Arkhangelsk Oblast. Our team created a comprehensive program for the development of the Oblast, consisting of a few major projects. The first was a development of oil and gas processing and oil and gas chemical cluster at the premises of Northern (Arctic) Federal University, as well as projects on energy, building and ecology. Moreover, legislative initiatives were formulated within the federal law on the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. This was a very coordinated work of the whole team.
Robert: We all had one case – the strategy developing for development zones in the Arctic region through the example of the Arkhangelsk Oblast. It’s another matter that the case gave us space to develop projects, and thus each team chose their own “path” and on the day X we all had our own unique projects to present. Our team proposed a project for the production of environmentally friendly fuel from wastes of wood processing and agriculture using pellet technology, while most of the teams decided to use the oil and gas industry as a base. In my opinion, our decision to use forestry industry as a base distinguished us favorably, and allowed us to win.
What kind of prospects and problems exist in the development of Arctic Zone of Russian Federation? What kind of projects are needed?
Tatevik: Among the national interests of Russia, one of the most important is the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. The prospects are huge, of course, energy and mineral resources on the shelf of the Arctic seas, the expansion of navigation, the use of the Northern Sea Route as a national unified transport communication of the Russian Federation in the Arctic, etc. But, of course, there are also problems that need to be addressed for the sustainable development of this region. First of all, it is the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic. Over the past 70 years, huge amount of industrial waste has been accumulated in the Arctic. Also, the next very important component is the term "Human in the Arctic". We should create a favorable environment for human life in the harsh conditions of the Arctic and solve the problems of Indigenous peoples.
Robert: There are problems for a whole book. The Arctic is a region of enormous opportunities and no less huge difficulties of a very different kind – from environmental to political. As a student specializing in law, I can highlight the imperfection of the legal system. For example, the excessive complexity and fragmentation of the already adopted legal acts that operate independently and are not supported by specific implementation mechanisms. Thus, we need a single approach paper on the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation.
What are the benefits of participating in the forum?
Tatevik: The participation in that kind of forum is, certainly, gaining new knowledge and experience as well as the opportunity to work with young initiative specialists of different backgrounds, share ideas in order to meet a real challenge.
Robert: First of all, it is meeting new people, from useful professional contacts to close friends. Since we are a generation charged with high hopes for the development of the Arctic zone, I think the main achievement of the forum is that 180 young professionals and students from all over the country now know each other, share ideas, and maybe, in the future, they will be able to implement some projects.
Will you continue to study the Arctic?
Tatevik: This year I will complete my Bachelor's degree and continue Master's studies at Laval University (Canada), where I plan to continue my research for the Arctic.
Robert: I'll continue. Since the first year of my studies I had been planning to connect my professional and scientific activities with the Arctic, and I'm not going to change the direction I chose.