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28 Aug, 2007 15:58

Top politician lauds Arctic success

The Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Boris Gryzlov, has praised Russia's recent mission to the North Pole at a meeting with members of the successful expedition. Gryzlov told the team – led by deputy house speaker Arthur Chilingarov &nda

The meeting was held in Moscow just days before the State Duma resumes work after the summer break.

“We have noticed that many countries began to speak about their priority towards the North Pole lately. But one still has to prove his priority. Therefore your mission was not only of political significance that showed our leadership, but it also had major scientific meaning,” Boris Gryzlov said. 

Proving Russia's right to the North Pole was one of the main objectives of this expedition. It was also an outstanding achievement for mankind. For the first time in history a manned water submersible landed on the sea bed at the top of the world. Arthur Chilingarov and his men went 4,300 meters below the arctic ice and spent nine hours there. They managed to get soil samples to see if the territory is a continuation of Russia's Lomonosov Ridge. And before surfacing they placed a titanium Russian flag on the ocean floor.

“This expedition wasn't simple. But we've accomplished all the tasks that we were set. A Russian flag is at the very point of the North Pole,” Arthur Chilingarov said.

With the international community closely monitoring the Russian mission, political disputes have sprung up over this remote region. It could store enormous recourses of gas and oil. And it seems this North Pole dive has triggered a race for the Arctic. Canada, Denmark and the United States are now hurrying to find their own way to the top of the world.

But the foreign members of the Artic 2007expedition such as Australian Mike McDowel have their own thoughts on the issue.

“It is something that will be discussed by the lawyers and politicians for the next 50 years.  So I say focus on the fact that this was exploration, human achievement. There is a Russian flag at the North Pole as there should be. This was a great expedition,” McDowel said soon after the expedition returned.

Even though other countries are eager to claim their piece of the pie, Russia has the technology necessary to further explore this region.  It also has its impressive arctic fleet.

Back in 1987, Canada wanted to build the largest icebreaker in the world, but then decided to give up the idea.

Now it’s left for new Russian ice breaker's like the «50 years of Victory» to escort the future expeditions to the Pole. And claims for the Arctic from any country have to be heard by the UN and resolved according to Sea Law.