Russia’s Collapsing Roads, Putin’s Betrayal of the Nation

Can you imagine dear reader, do you dare, what a road is like that does not meet Russian standards? Paul Goble reports on the catastrophic failure of the Putin regime to maintain Russia’s crumbling road network:

Even as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin again promises to complete a trans-Russia highway and as Moscow media report progress on several high-profile road projects near the capital, including paid highways, the country’s road system in many parts of the country is near the point of collapse, officials say.

They point to two reasons for that conclusion. On the one hand, according to a report in Irkutsk’s Argumenty I Fakty, the number of cars and trucks using the roads is growing rapidly, putting pressure on highways that were not designed to carry either the number or weight of vehicles now passing over them every day.

And on the other, officials responsible for roads say, the amount of money available for keeping the roads in good repair has been declining each year, a trend that in domino fashion means that Russia will eventually have to spend even more to bring the highway system back even to the level it was at a decade or more ago.

Vladimir Malykh, the official in charge of construction and maintenance of roads in the Irkutsk region, explains that “a road is a living organism, and therefore its repair must be timely. If we will not do the repairs today, then tomorrow we will have to make larger ones, and if tomorrow we don’t do that, then the day after, we will have to build a new road altogether.”

Over the last several years, he says, there has only been enough money in the budget to pay for immediate repairs, even though “practically all the transportation arteries of the region need major investments and even reconstruction.” And unless that changes, other officials say, the region’s economy will not develop as the government projects.

The situation in Irkutsk is not promising. There are 14,300 kilometers of roads, of which 1,600 are federal roads, 3,500 are regional and 9,200 are “other” or local. Currently, 63 percent of the regional roads and 80 percent of the “other” roads do not meet Russian standards, and 172 population centers lack year-round road links to the rest of the region.

Irkutsk officials hope to get more financing, but even if they do, they may not be able to repair the existing roads. That is because they are being pressured by officials and businesses to finish three new road construction projects first, something that means there is less money left for repairs and upgrades.

Irkutsk official Lyudmila Pulyaevskaya says such competition for declining resources means that the tempo of new construction will fall, unplanned expenses will increase and “the realization of many investment projects of the region [will be] impossible” if the problems of the roads are not addressed and soon.

Malykh has come up with a program that, if funded, will reduce the number of roads that do not meet standards by 12.9 percent by 2015, increase the size of the highway system in the region by 105,100 kilometers and guarantee year-round road connections to six population centers that do not currently have such access to the region’s main roads.

Whether this program will receive funding is uncertain, but unless Russia invests in such projects now, Malykh and other officials make clear, it will face even more serious problems with transportation and a transportation-dependent economy in the future than it does now, however successful the public relations efforts of the powers that be at the center may appear.

19 responses to “Russia’s Collapsing Roads, Putin’s Betrayal of the Nation

  1. As an eyewitness to numerous roads all across Russia, repair is not enough. I would honestly say, without trying to be provocative, that EVERY road outside of Moscow needs to be REBUILT. Even recently built roads are already falling apart. They simply don’t know how to do it even if they gathered the necessary will to try.

    In Ukraine, the roads are not so great either, but they are starting to partner with European companies to build world-class highways. There are some in the country now that could match anything in the West. (don’t get me wrong, they have a long way to go, though)

    I also had the pleasure of meeting the mayor of a regional city that is in the top 5 in population in Russia. I asked him why there are no good roads in his city. He responded to me with a straight face, “Why do we need good roads?” I was speechless after that. That can’t be more hopeless.

    This article preys on a major pet peeve that I have about Russian roads. The country endlessly screws themselves over by letting road repair companies do the same crappy job over and over every year and waste so much tax money. It’s a travesty.

    • moscow is one huge Potamkin Village. The rest of russia has no roads.

      • Les wrote;
        moscow is one huge Potamkin Village. The rest of russia has no roads.

        The rest of russia is pure 18 century no running water, no gas, no electricity – you have to be born russian slave to accept this in the name of ‘russian empire’ that resamble a mongol empire – look where Mongolia is now……

    • I bet they steal cement and replace it with sand or something cheap like that.

  2. To the LR – I’d be thankful to know how you reconcile your practical attitude toward Putin, i.e. your incessant lambasting of the RF president coupled with all the ribaldry that invariably goes along with it, with what the Bible commands on the matter of necessarily paying honor to all those in authority without exception (in the case you’re all atheists, please proceed no further as that’ll settle it):

    Rom. 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: AND THEY THAT RESIST SHALL RECEIVE TO THEMSELVES DAMNATION.

    Ecc 10:20 CURSE NOT THE KING, no not in thy thought

    2Pe 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITIES.

    Jud 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, AND SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITIES

    1Ti 2:1-3 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; FOR KINGS, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.

    Act 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK EVIL OF THE RULER OF THY PEOPLE.

    • DEK, I can propose an answer instead of LR…, but I won’t.

      I’d rather see what you’ll answer, LR.

      • Hi Dmitry, if I’m right in figuring out that you’re a frequent visitor to this site, I’d appreciate a serious, well-balanced assessment from you on what you think the people running it are engaged in here. And as a matter of BTW/FYI, there has ALWAYS been both cold and hot water available at the taps in the city where I’ve lived for almost four decades now, running literally 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (with a very rare, always notified-in-advance interruptions in hot [never cold] water supply of 1 to 4 day length at most held for the sake of merely servicing the system, and that solely in summer time). And I happen to live in the very heart of Siberia, not too very far from the city of Tomsk.

        • I’ve been to Tomsk, nice city. I’m Russian, and live in Moscow, so, I’m afraid my view of this blog wouldn’t bee too neutral.

          The blog is run by someone named Kim.

          I see basically two options on what “the people running it are engaged in here”:

          1) Kim really exists, then she might be a simple girl, seriously offended by some Russian kid. Don’t know what exactly happened, but her blog makes me thing it’s very much personal between her and Russia:)

          2) Kim is really some FSB captain who started this blog to make sure people would switch to supporting Putin and so on.

          I personally find the latter more likely to be truth, b/c I’ve seen some readers who became supportive of the government here, but never saw people who started to support opposition reading this blog.

          So, as said, “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

          • Voice of Reason

            LR is like Russia itself: a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

          • Hi again, mate!

            Thanks so much for your input, it’s been helpful to know your mind re this site and also those in charge thereof. BTW I’m Russian as well (did I say anything in my previous posts that made you think I wasn’t??). The thing is it so happens in my life that I’ve personally known, communicated and mixed with a huge number of men and women from virtually all the corners of the English speaking world and my personal experience with them has ever been only and, yea, exceptionally positive, and what I’ve bumped into here seems (at times, at least) to be on a par with well-nurtured and refined racist ideology characteristic far more of the third Reich than of those who nowadays profess themselves to be the light and hope amidst the world sunk in darkness and ignorance. In one word, it’s a disgrace. And whereas your # 1 made me smile and #2 sent me scratching my head for a few seconds, I guess what really matters and what makes the most valuable part – well, the real pith of your analysis – is everything that goes after “b/c”. That summation must hold true. Having said all of that, I’d also like to point out that this site is NOT how we should think of the English speaking world where, believe me, there are great numbers of those who would unambiguously condemn this sentiment.

            • Voice of Reason


              This blog is highly unrepresentative of the typical Americans. First of all, most people here are descendants from West Ukrainian and other emigrants from USSR whose parents suffered deeply form Stalin and who hate Russia. Second, this is a blog specifically created for people suffering from russophobia, which is a form of the illness of xenophobia, which in turn is a from of racism. There are hundreds of judophobic/nazi blogs in America. So why not one russophobic site?

              • >> First of all, most people here are descendants from West Ukrainian and other…
                That’s very elucidating, thanks. It looks I’ve had my fill with this abnormality and will hardly show up here again, after all there are so many other positive and urgent things to do in this life than to feed someone who takes delight in being publicly referred to as “illustrious” and is heavily bent on primitive trolling.

                • The blog – you know, you come to a circus, you expect to find clowns, right?

                  So, nice talking to you, and have a nice life, dude:)

    • Jesus] entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:15-17

      Put on the armour of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness Ephesians 6:11-12

      • God does not condone the KGB standing on His pulpits to shrive the people!

        “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

        20 Горе тим, що зло називають добром, а добро злом, що ставлять темноту за світло, а світло за темряву, що ставлять гірке за солодке, а солодке за гірке!

  3. Peter the Great said: “There are no roads in Russia, only directions”. Absense of roads is Russia’s strategic resource: all invasions of “Promoters of European Values” (the Poles in 1610, Napoleon in 1812, Hitler in 1941) got stuck in the Russian M & S (mud and snow).

  4. Incredibly great read! Honestly.

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