Monday, June 19, 2023

Construction of Northern Broad Gage Railway, a Key Putin Project, Now Won’t Even Be Launched until at Least 2027, Moscow Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 19 – The Northern Broad Gage Railway, a link Moscow needs to develop both the Northern Sea Route and the exploitation of natural resource reserves in the Far North and that Vladimir Putin had put his personal reputation behind only two years ago, now won’t be built until sometime after 2027, Russia’s transportation ministry says.

            The latest delay, contained in a report by the ministry, is reported today by Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper and other Russian media outlets, highlights just how tight money even for key Putin-supported projects now is and how cash shortages are allowing lower level officials to put off or even cancel these much-ballyhooed plans (

            The line, sometimes referred to as “the northern TransSiberian,” would pass through some of the most isolated regions of the Russian Federation, make possible the development of oil, gas and other natural resource reserves, and represent a key element in the support of the Northern Sea Route, has a long and anything but simple history.

            Tsarist officials talked about it, Stalin began it using GULAG slave labor but then it was cancelled after his death, Brezhnev started it up again and then suspended it, and finally Vladimir Putin in April 2021 called for it to be completed on a priority basis. But despite the allocation of enormous sums, construction has been limited and was suspended in October 2022 (


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