Jun 9, 2022
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“The path to Magadan”: China offers Russia from Yakutia to lay a “piece of iron” to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk

Photo: imago images/Xinhua/TASS

The other day a conference was held, which was devoted to the construction of a railway line from Yakutia to Magadan, about 2 thousand kilometers long, was held for a reason. Last year, on the instructions of the Russian Railways company, scientists from the Institute of Economics and Transport Development drove along the proposed route for the construction of the railway line in order to prepare a rationale for investment and design. That is, even before all the current cases related to Ukraine.

Now, and this, of course, was noted by all the railway workers – participants of the conference, the relevance of this route has increased significantly. BAM and TRANSSIB have not yet been fully reconstructed. But even after reaching the design capacity of cargo handling, according to experts, this will still not be enough. And then there is the turn to the East of the entire economy of the country. Railways, ports, access to the seas and oceans in the East are now needed like air.

So it’s time to build this railroad. And we must pay tribute to the company “Railways of Yakutia”, which gathered a very representative professional community in Yakutsk – people from the “Russian Railways”, the Federal Agency for Railway Transport, scientists, builders, operators. In general, everyone.

Serious specialists gathered and for two days discussed in detail the construction of the future highway. What will be the technical characteristics, what slopes and radii of curves, how to overcome the difficulties of soil, what will be the cargo base – everything is detailed, professional, to the point. I just listened and thought that we still have specialists in the country who are able to work and cope with complex tasks.

The conference was coming to an end, everyone was happy, enthusiastic about the future construction, inspired.

Finally, we came to the issue of funding. And then the worst began. Specialists-financiers took the floor, explaining with their fingers that the capital federal grant for the construction of this railway should be at least 75%. And if, after construction, transportation tariffs are not increased, then it will not be possible to recoup the costs. In general, it turns out that at first this highway will be more like a social project. Everyone was depressed – after all, this creates difficulties in the implementation of the project, where to get the money for it. Moreover, the shortest route, on which they stopped – 1,979 kilometers will cost 1,690.5 billion rubles in advance. A lot, in general. But the conference participants were inspired by the recent speech of the President of the country Vladimir Putinwho held a meeting on the development of the transport industry and said that it is necessary to build at all costs, but there will be a cargo base.

And as soon as all this was discussed, discussed, as they say, with the hope of a better outcome of the case, as they gave their word Peng mingquanhead of the CRCC representative office. This is a Chinese company, in Russian, the China Railway Construction Corporation.

Ms. Peng Mingkuan spoke in detail, without chattering, in good Russian. She said that this is a wonderful conference, that the people gathered are literate, most importantly, sincere, and everything should work out. But still, Peng Mingkuan added, when specialists begin to solve such problems, there is no need to doubt and worry: “If you have a dream, then you need to think more broadly. We must move forward step by step. And so that there are no problems – it does not happen. They will and must be overcome. Since everything is changing very quickly, even the climate. You have to be ready for change.”

And she added that in China there is a saying: if you want to be rich, build roads. And this Chinese philosophy was put into practice in her country. “Probably, many of you have been to China and seen what our country was like 30 years ago. We practically did not have roads – neither railways nor automobiles. And now it’s a completely different look. This happened thanks to the state, the fact that such a direction was set and there was support.

After these words, a video dedicated to the work of the CRCC company was shown to all those present. It was said that this company is one of the top three among the world’s 250 largest construction contractors, and ranks first in Asia in terms of production capacity.

The company is engaged in everything: scientific research, planning, exploration, industrial production, construction, maintenance, logistics and so on. As Mrs. Peng Mingkuan explained, just give us a task of any complexity, and we will do it.

The company built 70 thousand kilometers of its own designed railways, underwater tunnels – 15 thousand kilometers (not meters, but kilometers!), bridges – 16 thousand kilometers. China, as was said, has fully entered the era of high-speed transport, including thanks to the work of the company.

At this point, I realized that everything – I can’t listen and watch all this. I wanted to get up and go out. Immediately go out and pretend that I did not see all this.

Some six years ago, I had a childhood memory that our country is great, powerful, that we are leaders in everything. Over time, this idea melted away, and at this conference it was completely shattered.

We are irrevocably and almost hopelessly behind the leading countries of the world, which are now China and India.

Once, back in the 1990s, the Chinese ran around the same Yakutsk, grabbed people by the hands and, shouting “cheap-cheap”, tried to hand over the goods. The phrase “made in China” was synonymous with low-quality goods, to throw away. Now Chinese specialists have achieved such success in completely different areas that everyone else can learn from them.

30 years ago it was even unthinkable to imagine that these same Chinese would come to Russia and now they would teach our engineers how to build railways. And that they teach us, unreasonable, life and look at things more broadly, dream more globally.

And now it’s a reality. After all, looking at how our state squanders natural resources without investing in the development of their own country, I think they have every moral right to do so.

All this was completely unthinkable some 30 years ago. But it happened. China during the post-Soviet period, while we were floundering in our swamp, reached unprecedented heights. And we have slid down to the level of… African countries.

I’m not kidding – that’s right. Even during the plenary session, Mr. He ZhenweiPresident of China Overseas Development Association. He also approved Russian initiatives to build a railway from Yakutia to Magadan and suggested that we ourselves build everything in the best possible way. But in exchange for design and construction, you will give us your mineral resources. At the same time, as He Zhenwei noted, China has rich experience in such work – with some African countries.

This conference brought together truly unique specialists, engineers, scientists, with burning eyes, as they say, enthusiastic professionals. But they are driven into some kind of idiotic framework, forced to adapt to circumstances, calculate, look with hope at financial specialists.

There were many speeches that without a good lobbyist, as the president of the republic used to be Vyacheslav Shtyrov and who lobbied for the construction of a railway to Nizhny Bestyakh in Yakutia, is indispensable. Because everyone perfectly understands the attitude of the federal government. What other railway is there in Yakutia and the Magadan region? What more than a trillion rubles? Who needs it and why? Here is their real attitude to the country and to the development of the regions, which walk with an outstretched hand and for years cannot get support and implementation of their projects. Do I need to say anything more!

In China, meanwhile, the state keeps everything under complete control. Under the uttermost, I would say. And even this “CRCC”, as it turned out, is under the control of the China Railway Construction Group, which in turn is completely subordinate to the State Property Control and Administration Committee of China (SASAC). That’s all there is to it.

I don’t know why Mrs. Peng Mingkuan in her speech mentioned exactly the 30-year period of time during which China had so much time to develop. Either their country really made such a breakthrough during this period, or because they see how we have degraded during this period and gently hint at it. But the fact remains. The Chinese themselves offer and are already building railways in Russia, and not only them. And we can’t take out some kind of single-track to the Sea of ​​​​Okhotsk, which would significantly improve people’s lives, help the northern delivery, accelerate the extraction of natural resources, strengthen the country’s defense capability, and so on and so forth.

But in parallel, somewhere someone has hundreds of millions, billions of rubles through the sale and export of natural resources from Russia and considers himself happy. And they do not need any railway from Yakutia to Magadan. They don’t need anything but money. And they are just not at all ashamed of themselves, or of the country, or of what they have done to their homeland.

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