Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Three ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Stories in Putin’s Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 15 – There is something about bridges and especially about those who try to build them where they shouldn’t be built. The tale of “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska that Washington wanted to construct has had far longer “legs” than many of the other developments coming out of the US capital. 

            And so it is not surprising that three bridge stories are circulating in the Russian Federation, although because they show Vladimir Putin in a bad light, they have not been the subject of much attention by the central media. Nonetheless, they are getting out and about and say much about him and his regime.

            The first concerns the construction by China and Russia of the first railroad bridge at Nizhneleninskoye in the Jewish Autonomous Region. China was to build 80 percent of it; and Russia 20 percent. China has finished its portion; but Russia hasn’t made any significant progress despite promising to have it done by this year (newizv.ru/news/economy/14-10-2018/kitay-postroil-svoyu-chast-mosta-cherez-amur-ranshe-rossii-na-1-god).

            The Chinese and the Russian regional media are having a field day with this comparison (home.xinhua-news.com/gdsdetailxhs/share/4338075-?pageflag=iframe and flashsiberia.com/news/obzor-pressy-kitaya-sotrudnichestvo-rossii-i-knr-v-zhd-perevozkah-stroitelstvo-mostov-mezhdu).

            The second concerns Putin’s pride and joy, the Kerch bridge to occupied Crimea. Not only has a portion of the railroad span fallen into the sea but there aren’t enough roads to service it on the Russian side and experts say it is located on a weak foundation and may collapse (enigma.ua/articles/kerchenskiy_most_khronika_gryadushchey_tragedii_neputevye_zametki_gidrogeologa,  novayagazeta.ru/news/2018/10/15/145937-na-rekonstruktsiyu-dalnih-avtopodhodov-k-krymskomu-mostu-potratyat-pochti-90-mlrd-rubley and fakty.ua/283573-mozhet-upast-v-lyubuyu-sekundu-ozvuchen-svezhij-prognoz-po-sudbe-krymskogo-mosta).

                And the third involves the possible construction of a bridge to Sakhalin.  Because Putin backs the idea, it appeared to be going ahead – until it was pointed out that there were too few people to make it viable and no rail lines and few roads leading to or from it on either side. Consequently, it was dropped from the budget (fedpress.ru/article/2139945).

            But no Putinist idea, no matter how outrageous, stays dead, especially if his pride or money for his friends is at stake stays dead. Now, Nezavisimaya gazeta reports, the line item for this bridge to nowhere is back in the Russian budget for next year (ng.ru/economics/2018-10-11/4_7330_news1.html).

No comments:

Post a Comment