Making Russia great again - Putin is going to build infrastructure | Eurasia Diary -

19 May,

Making Russia great again - Putin is going to build infrastructure

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Until last year, two remote villages in Russia’s poorest republic – Tuva, near the Mongolian border in distant Siberia – spent four months out of 12 cut off from direct access to civilization.

During those months, when spring thaws and the slow autumn freeze made it impossible to cross the broad Yenisei River by ferry or ice bridge, the 2,000 or so people living there sometimes went hungry. If there was a medical emergency, the only option was evacuation by helicopter.


“This was our dream. We used to have trouble getting food deliveries in off-season; now we eat fresh bread every day,” he said. “Life is definitely better.”

Some economists criticize the plans as throwing money – which Russia has plenty of these days – at problems without a coherent, long-term economic strategy. But few deny that changes are actually happening and opening up new possibilities across the country, from that new bridge in Siberia to the restoration of train service in Torzhok, a neglected industrial town just a couple hundred miles from Moscow.

“There are a dozen big projects outlined by presidential decrees of May 2018” after Mr. Putin’s reelection, says Vladimir Klimanov, an economist with the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). “Infrastructure is the key to Russia’s future economic development. We need to develop connecting links between regions. Without that, regional economic development is hardly possible.”

The use of high-profile showpiece events to drive local infrastructure development is not a new idea. Russia spent over $50 billion to stage the Sochi Olympics five years ago.

“Such big projects, requiring so much financing, always have a variety of reasons behind them, including political, economic and social ones,” Olga Kryshtanovskaya, one of Russia’s leading political sociologists. says. “But sure, our authorities want people to have better jobs, improved surroundings, and better quality of life, if only to keep them quiet.”

The Christian Science Monitor

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