Essel on the Russian Road

Russian Roads – An Oxymoron

by Dave Essel

My translation of Yulia Latynina’s piece from Yezhedevny Zhurnal in today’s issue shows what has come of Russia’s efforts to build a competitor to Silicon Valley.  Meanwhile, one cannot help but be reminded of other pressing Russian issues that may be getting left behind.

No Westerner who has not been to Russia, for instance, can truly grasp what a Russian means by bad roads (or, by the same token – a “good” Russian road). In fact, some of the infrastructure labelled road or highway in Russia would be deemed impassable by loggers in Oregon.

As I translated the road section of  Milov/Nemtsov’s latest report, I could not help googling for things about roads in Russia. Laughing just to keep from crying should be the supreme Russian phrase and not a line from the Delta.

I collected a few pictures for fun.

From English Russia (click here for more), I particularly enjoyed this one

because of the oh-so-Putinesque speed limit sign! As with most things in Russia from “democracy”, to “world financial centre”, to “nanotechnologies”, the talk is talked but the road can’t be walked.

However, what the world COULD learn something about from Russia is potholes and how to fall into them:

Even in this field, Russia suffers from the usual gigantism.

But I think last word should go to an Australian couple who rode a BMW bike across Siberia and without intending it summed up the country in a dozen or so words:

At least in the rain you can see the potholes before they crump your suspension…

… in the dry they just can’t be avoided.


12 responses to “Essel on the Russian Road

  1. So how far out from Moscow or St. Pete’s do the roads turn to rubble? Everything thing can’t be that bad? Don’t they have an interstate system like the US? (That was originally conceived & built for military use, not vacationers) I would think such a militaristic government such as the Kremlin would like to make a road system. Sorry, preventing an invasion doesn’t wash anymore, not with nuclear warheads everyone owns. So just build decent roads and 3/4 of the population wouldn’t be ticked off all the time. Just some thoughts.


    “Everything thing can’t be that bad?”

    Oh yes, it can. It can be much, much worse.

    “Don’t they have an interstate system like the US?”

    No, they don’t. To build one would require (a) ending corruption and (b) diverting resources from tasks like invading Georgia and buzzing Alaska with nuclear bombers.

  2. Ofcourse, Russia, such a huge country should underfinance her allready badly financed army, so that next time the Westerners can come in whenever they like and teach the Russians how to live properly, under economic slavery that is, or even worse, China can get it’s chunk of Siberia it claims to be Chinese, so that they can breed to many more millions of babies who will get eaten in their own restaraunts by cannibals.

    • Are you sick or something? Who in his right mind would not want to have good roads?

      • RUSSIAN roads – best weapon against NATO, and I am proud of this fact :)

        • If you are saying that Russia intentionally keeps bad roads to prevent a foreign invasion, you are simply being irrational.

          • Well, its hard to remain sane on this blog, when russian politicians often dont give a damn about us the citizens, people outside portray russians as barbaric and la russophobe deletes my comments. That way, the only weapon we have remaining is humor :) and one other thing, the roads only get this bad in the siberian countryside, if you live in a major city you’ll do just fine if you adapt and live a sensible life.

            • Konstantin! Good grief. How in the world can bad roads be a deterent against NATO!? If Nato wanted to (which I believe HIGHLY unlikely) invade Russia (why would be beyond me.), they would just build their own roads. Besides, look how much everyone relies on air power…Russia itself is buzzing the US (& Canada). Then you say roads are best weapon Russia has, then in answer to someone else you say humor is the only weapon you have left; so what you got?

              Oh, and Konstantin. I think you just answered the “raison d’etre” for La Rus in your own answer. “…when russian politicians often dont give a damn about us the citizens,”. LR is blogging at the top of her lungs for people to wake up. Notice the only time she goes ballistic with the people, is when blatant, bad things happen and no one (Russian citizen) raises a peep; and the same thugs remain in office.

              Konstantin, you (and I mean personally you) and your countrymen can do better than what you’ve got now. A world of a lot better.

              P.S. The natural beauty of Russia is amazing, its too bad more people couldn’t be awed by it.

        • kostia duratshokh wrote;

          RUSSIAN roads – best weapon against NATO, and I am proud of this fact :)


          Russian road – best weapon to keep Russia in 18th century. I MUST SAY YOU SUCCEED MARVELOUSLY….

          Are you THAT stupid thinking that NATO has to cross the Russian borders to succeed? Burning Moscow worked two centuries ago…

  3. Konstantin,

    Again, thank you for cramming so much information in to one paragraph of schizophrenic bile.

    You still bootin’ from DOS bro?

  4. It’s nature untouched by revenous human civilization… :) Roads paved with asphalt are out of fashion…

  5. LOL Let’s NATO invade Russia and they build roads for free!)))))


    NATO can’t afford the price of Russian corruption. It prefers to let Russians walk.

  6. What a pitty!

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