Tuesday, May 9, 2023

To Fly from One Siberian Oblast to Its Neighbors, Russians Now will Again have to Go Through Moscow Just as in Soviet Times

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 6 – It was one of the many perversities of Soviet life that anyone who wanted to travel from one oblast to another neighboring one had to fly through Moscow, often travelling thousands of kilometers to reach a destination only a hundred or two away. Now, as a result of cutbacks in government subsidies, that system is returning.

            The federal government has cut subsidies for air tickets from nine billion rubles (120 million US dollars) last year to 7.5 billion (100 million US dollars) this. Rather than spread these cutbacks over the entire system, Russian carriers have cancelled flights between many regional hubs (iz.ru/1507613/anastasiia-lvova-stanislav-fedorov/makhnuli-krylom-aviakompanii-nachali-otmeniat-reisy-po-rf-iz-za-sokrashcheniia-subsidii and club-rf.ru/detail/6800).

            That not only will reduce the ability of officials, businessmen and ordinary Russians to meet with others in nearby federal subjects but will mean that once again any travel will be more Moscow-centric than it has been since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago, a reversal of fortune for all concerned.

            But that is far from the only air transportation problem Russians now face. In Sakha, for example, reconstruction of more than 25 local airports has been suspended and flights ended in most of them; and officials say that this summer they expect “a transportation collapse in the republic (aartyk.ru/recommended/v-yakutii-voznikli-sereznye-problema-po-rekonstrukcii-aeroportov-v-rajonax/ and aartyk.ru/obshhestvo/letom-yakutiyu-ozhidaet-transportnyj-kollaps/).

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