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Crimea had put an end to megaprojects
Material posted: Publication date: 14-01-2015

A prominent member of the epoch of developed socialism said that the economy should be economical. This wisdom could be spoken to former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, but the author Brezhnev. As Viktor Stepanovich became the Deputy Minister of Gazprom under Leonid Illich, it can be assumed that the Secretary General has been life-giving source of aphoristic passages Chernomyrdin.

The main requirement for the economy is quite another. The economy needs to grow and develop. But there are different strategies. In the era of socialism was put on mega-projects. History knows many shining mega-projects from the construction of the Egyptian pyramids. The Suez and Panama canals, TRANS-Siberian railway, the new city of Saint Petersburg and Brasilia, the Apollo program, the tunnel under the English channel. Most mega-projects now in South America and in Asia.

The history of the USSR – the path from one megaproject to the next. Industrialization and electrification, the program "East", virgin, pipelines, BAM... reforms in the Soviet Union were creaking, liberal initiatives of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Alexei Kosygin drowned and were resuscitated partly restless of the sixties generation in the years of Perestroika.

Economists are in the mega-projects of a single character. Their common nerve, according to the famous British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, the great war of independence from space. The creation of a new order in which the goods, money, information and even people are moved quickly and at previously inaccessible distances. But the trouble is that the political interests of the economy of mega-projects usually are sacrificing. They almost always cost more than expected, and almost always the demand is lower than planned. The tunnel under the English channel cost 80% more expensive than thought, and loading was 18% of the forecast. Lobbyists don't call fair numbers, considering that this is a white lie.

The return of Russia to the bosom of Soviet values inevitably lead the economy to a focus on megaprojects. The modernization and reform we inhibit. The knowledge economy and the focus on innovation has failed, as the dogs-knights under the ice of lake Peipsi. Small business amidst the rampant monopolies looks alien, as frivolous inoculation Amateur gardener.

About new megaprojects enthusiastically spoken at the meetings of the discussion club "Valdai", which regularly visits President Putin. They were discussed recently at a major investment forum in Sochi. Particularly it was noted that megaprojects are shaping the national identity of our citizen and serve as a unifying factor for all sectors of society.

Among the prominent citizens of mega-projects – flying to the moon with a swing to Mars, the construction of high-speed Railways, the bridge in the Crimea, the far Eastern University on island Russian and, more broadly, the development of the Far East, the bridge across the Lena in Yakutsk. How many of mega-projects can be implemented in conditions of economic crisis, the extent of which is not amenable to prediction and change from day to day?

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, feeling the insatiable need to compete not only with Americans, but defiantly to bully them, often gives rise to daring projects beyond outer space. They are mind blowing and are quickly forgotten. Most of all remember the lunar project. No matter what it is a repetition of the path traveled by Americans 40 years ago. And no matter what progress and discoveries does not promise the Moon. Even lunar soil — regolith, delivered to Earth a fair amount, including the Soviet Rovers. But the Moon is visible to management, it's not muddy Observatory for fundamental Sciences. It was argued that already in 2016 will fly to the moon the first machines, although the budget money did not give. In the current economic situation, when the earth leaves from under feet, on the flight outside of the Earth on do not really need the moon will forget.

The construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait to Crimea is a long – standing theme. Already forgotten, but once the bridge was built there by the Germans, and by the autumn of 1942. The bridge, and the Germans, it was a long time. The Soviet delegation was returning from the Yalta conference, on the train, which passed safely through the German bridge. The bridge collapsed in 1945 during the ice drift due to the lack of ice-cutters. The entire Soviet period, of the bridge said, Yes hands do not reach.

After the reunification with Russia Crimea cried out for the Kerch bridge as the salvation. At first it seemed that the bridge is not the problem. But the euphoria passed, more and more problems – from Geology to Economics. Holding the plow contractors refuse to participate. At the last meeting with the President of the Russian Federation the bridge is estimated at 300 billion roubles, named by the date in 2018, although at first was going to open to traffic in three years. But for a long time about the project, neither the hearing nor the spirit. Accelerates new idea is to dig under the Strait a tunnel. Something tells: the light at the end of the tunnel will appear soon.

The bridge across the Kerch Strait has pulled under the bridge across the Lena river in Yakutsk. Hard to believe, but in Yakutia there is no bridge across the river, although this idea was hatched even with the king. Project bridge is three kilometers from the access roads 18 km was approved, had to roll up their sleeves. But Crimea crossed the road to the Far East, pulling on resources. As without the infrastructure to perform the task of priority development of the Far East, is unclear.

The APEC summit in Vladivostok, the construction of the University on island Russian and the cable-stayed bridge cost $1 billion showed that the Far East development need much more than a bright mega-projects. In 20 years the population of Primorye decreased by 20% and reached 6 million, while in the adjoining provinces of China had 130 million development of the Far East is hindered by bureaucratic obstacles and unimaginable corruption, as if it was put North of the coefficient.

From all of the largest mega-projects – the high speed railway that would connect Moscow with Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Adler, Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk. Speed – not less than 300km/h. In the world of such roads for 20 thousand km, and there is no interest. The project was to create 40 thousand jobs and was estimated at 7 trillion rubles. it turned Out that the return scheme in principle in question, the passengers of high-speed trains will not fill and the project needs, not to the state Railways. The authorities have started talking about what we need to wait and RZD begs at least to Kazan or, even more modestly, to Vladimir a test branch to stretch.

In world practice, nine out of ten mega-projects exceed initial cost. The Suez canal cost 20 times more than expected. But where would the world economy, if not for the mega-projects, which first deceived the expectations of investors. The crisis in the Russian economy are forcing to abandon most of the planned megaprojects.

At the end of 2013, when I felt the breath of the crisis, the government announced the allocation of 450 billion rubles from the national wealth Fund on three megaprojects that are associated with the development of infrastructure. This is the TRANS-Siberian railway and the Eastern section, the high-speed railway Moscow–Kazan and the Central ring road (TsKAD) in 50 km from MKAD. But even on the three priority projects have not heard.

Again savings. Our economy is once again becoming economical. Come, where to run, to the starting point.

Sergey Leskov


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