Mikhail Motsak, the First Deputy Plenipotentiary of Russia's President in the Northwestern Federal District, speaking at a session of the Military Coordination Council under the President's Plenipotentiary, said, 'The Arctic Sea Route must not become economically dependent on foreigners. Recently Norway, Denmark and other foreign countries have been trying to increase their presence there. Yet Russia as the owner of atomic icebreakers is capable of keeping the route functioning. We must be reasonable and stay on top where our both national and commercial interests are concerned'. In the meantime, Mr. Motsak admits that by 2005 Russia may prove unable to keep the Arctic Sea Route functioning normally, most of the icebreakers being at the end of their resource now. He further said, 'We must make every effort to restore the icebreakers and so keep our control over the route'.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated