Russia’s Relation to the Environment through the Use of Submarines

The construction of submarines became an independent branch of the industry in the Soviet Union at the turn of the 20th century. However, the first research submarine «Severjanka» only appeared in 1957. The next year, «Severjanka» was handed over to the All-Soviet Institute of Marine Research. Soviet scientists then mainly studied the increase in fish catch, the behaviour of fish at different times of the year, and the possibilities of developing new fishing methods. In the 1990s, there was a break in the deployment of submarines for environmental research. Nowadays, Russian scientists are however active in marine research, even if it is sometimes dangerous due to the scrapped radioactive Soviet submarines that lie in the Artic Ocean. My paper will examine both to which extent submarines in Russia are a suitable tool for studying and protecting the oceans, and if they are a cause of environmental pollution. I will also examine the contributions Russia can make to the protection in the Arctic region using submarines, and the way the topic of research submarines is featured in political debates in Russia. As primary sources, my paper relies on oral histories, publications in the media, and scientific literature.

Intervenant-e