Sundi Rose
Updated Aug 05, 2015 @ 10:38 am

Dear Santa, your business is now under new management. Love, Russia

In a report laced with intricate references to maritime laws and complicated United Nations’ statutes, The New York Times announced Tuesday that Russia has staked a claim on the North Pole. And it’s legit, people.

Here’s how this is all happening: There’s a treaty, called the Law of the Sea, that allows countries to claim land that abuts their oceanic waters. This means that because the North Pole is technically within the allowed distance of Russian waters, that they can put in an offer to own it.

This doesn’t mean, however, that they have complete control. They are subject to a United Nations committee that arbitrates sea boundaries, and this committee has to accept the offer first.

The UN rejected a similar bid in 2002, citing “lack of evidence,” but this didn’t deter the Russian effort to own the North Pole. The Kremlin regrouped and sent famed arctic explorer, Artur N. Chilingarov to scoop up some soil for testing. He also left a tiny little Russian flag made of titanium there, to informally stake their claim.

If Russia’s bid is accepted by the UN, this means that the North Pole will be subject to Moscow oversight on such matters as economic decisions, fishing, oil and gas drilling.

This also means that Santa and his workshop full of elves might have to answer to Russian landlords from now on. Hopefully, this scramble won’t impact productivity, but it might be best to get your letters in early.

[Image via Shutterstock]