Even in Lakhtin's conception, Russian sovereignty in the Arctic depended to no small extent on the economic and scientific activity that the Soviet Union developed there. Complete and effective occupation was impossible, but this meant that as much as possible should be done. Much had been done already, since there were polar stations on Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa, Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and Ostrov Vrangelya. Each year freighters went to the Yenisey and the Kolyma. Nevertheless, the Soviet North remained a huge region without any significant population. How could such an area be occupied effectively? The solution was simple as well as brilliant: by increased shipping. This provided a comprehensive framework for all Arctic exploration. Polar stations served to protect and coordinate the shipping route. The focus of Soviet exploration shifted from aviation, for which the Soviets still depended heavily on the West, to shipping, a field in which the Soviets clearly had a head start, thanks to their icebreakers. The rescue of Nobile and his crew had clearly demonstrated this.