Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Rising Costs of Putin’s War in Ukraine Forcing Cancellation of Vital Road Projects, Infuriating Russians

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 27 – When Putin’s war in Ukraine began, Natalya Zubarevich and other independent economists warned that there would not be any new roads in Russia for the duration. Their predictions are now proving true, with even the roads had been promised for decades put on the chopping block as being too expensive in time of war.

            Most of this suspension of construction has taken place far from Moscow and so has not attracted the attention of the central media that it might have. But one cancellation, that of the Vladivostok-Nakhodka-Vostochny Port, has garnered attention because the authorities have promised it for so long and conditions on roads in that region are so poor.

            Residents of that region are outraged by this decision with some recalling that the roads they have been expected to use are so dangerous that losses on them constitute a form of genocide against the Russian people. (On the decision, see ach.gov.ru/checks/doroga-vladivostok-nakhodka-port-vostochnyy and on the charge, primamedia.ru/news/627899/.)

            One Vladivostok expresses the bitterness people there feel in ways that Moscow should be worried about. Elvira Kutuzova says that “yes, times are tough, and yes certainly one has to economize. But perhaps it would be better to spend money not on bullets but on roads?” (sibreal.org/a/iz-za-voyny-novuyu-trassu-vladivostok-nahodka-reshili-otmenit-/31867511.html).

            Roads, she argues, “provide more benefits than those which come from bombs or tanks. Sooner or taker, one way or another, the war will end and a time will come when we will have to think how to live further and hos to develop the Far East. And when that time comes, it will be obvious that nothing will be possible without roads.”

               Or, Kutuzova speculates, has Moscow decided to “hand us over to the Chinese” and thus decided not to invest any money as the new rulers will come and build everything for themselves. That is the only reasonable explanation for what Russia’s current rulers are doing, she suggests.


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