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The Russian Bear Is Back

In this video still, a Russian miniature submarine is beinglowered from research vessel Akademik Fyodorov before performing a dive to the floor of the Arctic Ocean. The submarine resurfaced safely, Russian officials announced.
AP Photo
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchorHarry Smith.

If you had been watching television in Moscow or St. Petersburg or Vladivostock during the last couple of days, you would have been riveted by the under seas adventures of Russian explorers at the North Pole. Think of it as the Russian version of shark week.

The predators in this case, though, are the Russians themselves. They are there to gobble up as much of the ocean floor as possible in an effort to claim mineral rights.

Russians have watched with pride as their mini subs have combed the Arctic waters. The explorers even planted a Russian flag. Vladimir Putin called to offer his congratulations and thank you's.

Lest you think this is all kind of comical, Russian arrogance and obstinance has grown significantly over the last few years along with its enormous oil and gas revenues.

The Russian bear is back with a vengeance, and he wants to replace Santa's workshop at the North Pole with a giant oil rig.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith