The study of the role of science and technology in the conquest of the Russian Arctic under Soviet power has great significance for historians of science and technology, environmental historians, scientists, social scientists and policy makers. It is timely given the ongoing third International Polar Year and President Vladimir Putin's recent claims to the North Pole and a large part of the Arctic Ocean. It will shed light on questions of empire and science, center-periphery relations, and the tension between universal science and local knowledge. Specifically, it will contribute significantly to understanding how politics, economics and ideology shaped Soviet science and technology. The following questions will be addressed in this project: To what extent did the Communist officials and scientists share goals and understandings of what science was and how best to support it? How did Marxism, science and technology combine to create the urban, industrial effort to transform the far north? What were Soviet conceptions of nature, the north, and indigenous peoples? How do modern science and technology serve empire building? These questions are all facets to the following unifying question: How did Soviet military, economic and political desiderata shape arctic science and technology? The project will result in several publications of great interest not only to historians but to policy makers. Several of the publications will deal with "Continuity and Change: Russian Science and Politics in the Arctic in the Twenty-first Century." Archival materials, interviews, and various publications will be consulted in analysis of the founding of the research and development apparatus in the north, the construction of cities and industries connected with them, and the establishment of such fields of science as hydrology and hydrography, meteorology, forestry, and metallurgy.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Frederick M Kronz
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Colby College
United States
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