”1. Introduction and objectives
This article presents the development of the socio-spatial structures and the
geoeconomic position of the Murmansk Oblast (Figure 1) through the year
2025. The starting point for the analysis is that the appropriate planning of
industry, logistic infrastructure and population is inadequate without a wellgrounded
assessment of the region’s present and future economic conditions and
contingencies. Key concepts of study are Strong Prospective Trends (Toivonen
2004; Kuusi 2008; Naisbitt 1984) and Cluster (Porter 1990; 2006; Malmberg &
Maskell 2002). The study is based on the Delphi method, which is commonly
used within the discipline of futures studies (on the method, see Myllylä 2008a;
Kuusi 1999; Kuusi 2002; Turoff 1975, 2002, 2009; Sackman 1975; for more on
futures studies, see Bell 1997a; 1997b). The main question to be answered involves
what future socio-economic scenarios the Delphi method provides for the
Murmansk Oblast. Figure 1 shows the target region for this study, the population
concentrations and the administrative districts and major towns today.
This study is based on material from interviews with a panel of specialists in the
Murmansk Oblast and an analysis of on-going socio-economic development in
the region, together with material from interviews with two additional panels,
one consisting of specialists from Moscow and St. Petersburg and the other an
“international” panel mainly consisting of experts from Finland (See Table 1).
2. The background and need for the study
The starting point of the article is the idea that the dissolution of the Soviet Union
resulted in a shift of the geopolitical and geoeconomic focus in Russia to the north.
As the main oil-producing regions of the Soviet Union, such as Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan, became independent, the relative importance of north-western
Russia and Siberia increased in Russia’s oil and gas production (Tykkyläinen
2003). The high prices of crude oil and natural gas products in the global market
have led to the emergence of wealthy, rapidly developing pockets in remote
regional economies. Oil and natural gas are Russia’s main exports, brought to
Europe primarily by oil and gas pipelines, an infrastructure built several decades
ago. Now, however, the situation is changing.
Economic interest in northern regions has increased as the growing world
economy demands more energy and the resources in existing oil and gas fields
are being depleted. The Arctic region is rich in oil and natural gas. The rising
prices of raw materials are making the exploitation of Arctic natural resources
more profitable than before. These regions are located northeast of Finland.
What role will Murmansk’s northern location have in the new, rapidly developing
transport system? What impact will the fact that the Murmansk Region is located
relatively close to key market areas – the European Union and the increasingly
important eastern coast of the United States – have on the development options
for the region (Figure 2)? How will other geographical factors, such as an ocean
port that is ice-free the year round, affect the development options available to
the Murmansk Region? What effect will the change have on the development of
industry and logistics in the Murmansk Region and how will it affect social trends
Source pages 61-62:
Myllylä, Yrjö (2010). The Development of Murmansk Region in the light of three scenarios. In the book: Nysten-Haarala, Soili & Katri Pynnöniemi (eds.) (2010). Russia and Europe: from mental images to business practices. Papers from the VII International Conference of Finnish Russian and East European Studies and other writings Kotka, Finland 2010 Publications of Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences. Series B.
Research and Reports. No: 65. 61-79.
See all article:
Yrjö Myllylä, Doctor of Social Sciences, has been working as a researcher in the
Department of Geography at the University of Joensuu (Current University of
Eastern Finland). In his doctoral dissertation (2007), Dr Myllylä evaluated the
industrial, social and logistic developments in the Murmansk region by using the
Delphi Method. His scientific interests also include innovative entrepreneurship,
clusters and internationalization of small and medium size enterprises. Dr Myllylä
currently works as a research consultant at Oy Aluekehitys RD.