Moscow “won’t succeed in building Kerch bridge”

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2014/09/13 • Crimea

Russia will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait to link occupied Crimea with the Russian Federation, according to a Ukrainian scholar. But its likely inability to do so means that Moscow may have even more reason to press ahead with its aggression elsewhere to secure a land route to the peninsula.

In an interview on BTB, Serhiy Hromenko, a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, says that Moscow will not be able to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait or get the Chinese to do it for them as some have speculated.

The “unpleasant” truth is that only the Germans were able to build such a bridge in the course of their invasion of the USSR, but the 4.5 kilometer German bridge was destroyed by ice flows immediately after the war.  And since that time, “no one, not even the Soviet Union with all its power, was able to build such a bridge.”

“And if the Soviet Union wasn’t able to do this,” Hromenko says, he “strongly doubts that the Russian Federation will be able to so” despite Moscow’s claims that it will be able to do so and before 2018.

Moreover, he continues, “all the talk that some Chinese company or other will come and build it is absolutely without foundation because [such firms] fear of falling under American sanctions.” Nor is there any reason to believe in the capacity of some African companies to fill this gap.

Without a bridge, Moscow will be able to send goods into occupied Crimea by ferry, something that will make prices there higher and lead to a further degradation of the situation on the peninsula.  And that in turn will make the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation even more difficult, Hromenko says.

The Ukrainian scholar does not mention what may be a far more important consequence of Russia’s likely inability to build such a bridge: an even greater reason for Moscow to try to secure a land bridge to Crimea by seizing one way or another Ukrainian territories to the north of Crimea.

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  • Dean Venture

    I think it comes down to which route is costlier. The Confederation Bridge between PEI and New Brunswick is 13 km long, over a stretch of ocean that sees ice and high winds in winter. It cost 1.3 billion in 1997.

    A bridge is probably a lot cheaper than capturing a land bridge, particularly when you factor in the political costs and the risk of further sanctions or military intervention from the West. That assumes there aren’t other reasons for taking the coast and that Putin is rational, both of which are open to debate.

    • Max

      I was just thinking about the exact same thing you explained here. You did a good job formulating it :)

    • Edison

      It will cost more than 1.3B USD, but they also need railroad bridge and water pipe to deliver 5,000,000 cubic meters of water per day. 5-10 billion USD altogether. To use the water, they need to spend money on the canal system to reverse the flow and fix all the leaks. That will cost another 20B USD. It’s a lot of money for an economy with a GDP of only 1B per year. Of course those pensioners who voted for Russian rule were betting on increased pensions. Plenty of other upgrades to Crimea, especially the Black Sea Fleet, will make Russian taxpayers proud.

      Actually, it’s impossible to reverse the flow of the canals. The North canal is big at the north end and tiny at the other end, which is in Kerch and Feodosia. So they actually have to build a new canal system.

    • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

      Oh no. PEI has a bridge?!! It was cool- an entire province on a little remote island. I went up there “to see the total eclipse of the sun”, but my Lear jet was in the shop.

      This article is kind of useless- just evidenceless speculation- course it can build a bridge if it wants to spend enough- the SU had no need since Ukraine was part of it.

      • Edison

        It’s speculation, but that’s what the web is for. Anyway, it raises the question about the need for the bridge. Is it mainly for tourists, or is it necessary to build up some other investment, like a huge naval base to dominate the Black Sea. How big does the Black Sea Fleet need to be? Are they planning to attack Turkey at Sinop, like in 1853? Or do they need to defend against Bulgaria. Or maybe they really need it to attack Odessa and Nikolayev. Maybe the taxpayers won’t pay anyway, because the 110 Russians, who own 33% of Russia’s wealth can part with a few billion (after some Putin blackmail) to build a playground of casinos, theme parks, and billion dollar dachas.

  • digpig

    Why can’t they build a tunnel?

    • Guest

      Cuz they are corrupt thieves..

    • Inna Mart

      Cuz they are corrupt thieves..

  • Jacob Schønberg

    Russia can easily build this bridge. Any entrepreneur in India or Pakistan or elswhere can make the investigations into the soil and make a project. But it is going to cost much more than Putin thinks! Putin is using too much money. He canselled selling bonds several times. He used all the money from the Russian pension fund!

    • Anna Palagina

      Soviet Union already built a brigde there (not sure, maybe Nazis started the construction and SU appropriated it). anyway, that brigde worked for like 2 years, then collapsed because of soil slide caused by “untypical” cold weather and ice formation. so, there might me inherent risks related to landscape, hence the high cost.

  • Murf

    Here’s a thought end aggression against Ukraine. Make amends and pay a certain amount of “reparations” which will be a whole lot less than 20B USD.
    Kyiv will turn on the water back on. allow land trade. And everybody will be happy.
    Yea. I know; that’s just crazy talk.

  • Mazepa

    mockal swine….PLEASE build this bridge.
    We look forward to bombing it within 12 hours of construction!
    Guaranteed.
    Praviy Cektor