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Throughout history, there have been many territorial disputes concerning the Russian Federation.

  • Disputes over the boundary with the People's Republic of China were finally resolved on July 21, 2008. On that day the Foreign Ministers of the two countries signed an agreement in Beijing. Under the agreement, Russia ceded approximately 174 km² of territory to China.[1] The territory transferred comprised Tarabarov Island and approximately half of Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island. The area transferred was largely uninhabited.[2] The settlement of their border dispute followed over 40 years of negotiations. The final settlement was the result of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation which was concluded on June 2 2005 and signed by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. This followed talks in Vladivostok. There is now no border dispute between Russia and China along their 4300 km border.
  • Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined among all littoral states. Issues between Russia and the states bordering it - Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan - were settled in 2003. Russia has no common land or Caspian-sea border with Turkmenistan and Iran, which do not agree with the Caspian Sea settlements.
  • With respect to the Baltic states, a draft treaty delimiting the boundary with Latvia has not been signed; and a 1997 border agreement with Lithuania was ratified in 2003. Estonian and Russian negotiators reached a technical border agreement in December 1996. The border treaty was initialed in 1999. On 18 May 2005 Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov signed in Moscow the “Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Estonian-Russian border” and the “Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Delimitation of the Maritime Zones in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Narva”. On 20 June 2005 the Riigikogu (Estonian Paliament) ratified the signed treaties by adopting ratification act [1], objected by Russia. The President of Estonia Arnold Rüütel announced them on 22 June 2005. On 31 August 2005 Russian President Putin gave a written order to the Russian Foreign Ministry to notify the Estonian side of “Russia’s intention not to participate in the border treaties between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Estonia”. On 6 September 2005 the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation forwarded a note to Estonia, in which Russia informed that it did not intend to become a party to the border treaties between Estonia and Russia and did not consider itself bound by the circumstances concerning the object and the purposes of the treaties.
  • An additional ocean boundary dispute exists in the Barents Sea with the neighbouring Kingdom of Norway. Russia applies a sector line spanning from Cape Nemetskii to the North Pole for delimitation purposes whilst Norway applies the equidistance principle. Neither method is acceptable for either state since they arguably lead to an inequitable result, so the matter is subject to negotiation where a compromise is likely to be attained.
  • Russia has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation. The Soviet Union signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1960.
  • Disputes over the boundary with Georgia relating to Russia's recognition of Georgian regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.


  1. ^ Business Standard Article - source for 174 km² figure
  2. ^ Economist article including map of new Russia-China Border

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