Route 66. The Autobahn. The Trans-Eurasian Belt Development? The head of Russia's railway system has proposed a superhighway through Siberia across the Bering Strait that would link Europe with the United States through Russia.
Picture: Anton Balazh
According to a report from The Siberian Times, the highway would run alongside much of the current Trans-Siberia Railway, and end on the eastern edge of Russia with a tunnel or perhaps a bridge over the Bering Strait. It was proposed by the chief of Russia's railway system, Vladimir Yakunin, a "powerful oligarch" (with a bigoted agenda). The Siberian Times also reports that Yakunin unveiled his plan last week to the Russian Academy of Science, where he busted out some serious high-level pseudo-academic jargon:
He also said that Western-style globalisation is no longer seen as an incentive but as a hindrance on the economic, scientific, moral and spiritual development of society.
He said: 'This is an inter-state, inter-civilisation, project. It should be an alternative to the current (neo-liberal) model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world 'future zone', and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.'
This is far from the first time someone has imagined bridging Russian with Alaska. In the 1890s, the designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, Joseph Strauss, envisioned a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait, "within the lifetime of the present generation, to create a rail and highway route between points as distant as New York and Paris."
Yakunin's is probably destined to join Strauss's in the deep file of Bering Straight superhighways that were never built -- fun though it is to imagine driving thousands of miles through some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. [The Siberian Times; CNN]