This story is from a few days ago. It is about the project called “Kerchensky Bridge”. This proposed bridge construction is an important component of keeping the Crimean Peninsula supplied with the necessities of life, in conditions of blockade and conflict between the two countries, Russia and the Ukraine. The bridge, when completed, will unite Taman with Kerch and, at 19 kilometers, will be the longest bridge in all of Russia.
Attending an economic conference devoted to the development of Crimea and Sebastopol, President Putin was quoted as saying: “Our forefathers understood the significance of this bridge spanning Crimea and the Caucasus, and for a long time strived to realize this project. Let us hope that we shall complete this historical mission.”
Putin reminded people, that a bridge spanning the Taman and Crimean Peninsulas, was planned as far back as 1910, under Tsar Nikolai II. But then WWI happened, and the bridge never got built.
Time marched on, and still no bridge. In 1930 Soviet engineers came up with a similar plan: They were going to build a railroad bridge, at this same planned location. Once again, war got in the way.
According to Putin, the Nazi occupiers actually did build a (temporary) bridge in this very location. The Nazis planned to turn this temporary structure into a permanent one. It was maybe the one good thing that the occupiers did. The Soviets made a decision not to bomb it, in the hopes of preserving the work that the Nazis had put into it so far.
When the war ended, the Soviets built another temporary bridge in this location, but it collapsed under an ice drift.
So now, after all these years and failures, Putin hopes to achieve what Tsar Nikolai, Stalin, and even Hitler were not able to accomplish – in other words, Build the Damn Bridge! And how does he plan to do this? Well, through this little thing called Project Planning. By putting together a similar dream team to the one which ensured a successful Sochi Olympics for Russia in 2014.
Putting the Right People in Place
As part of the project kick-off, Putin inspected the area where construction will begin. Accompanying the President was a man named Alexander Ostrovsky. He is the General Director of a conglomerate or group of companies called СГМ which builds huge infrastructure projects for the government – primarily pipelines. Their daughter company “Most” (=”Bridge”) will be taking on the Kerchensky Bridge project.
I was able to find this brief biography of Ostrovsky. Which wasn’t easy, because he shares a name with a famous Russian playwright of the 19th century. Interestingly enough, the playwright Ostrovsky had a Crimean theme too: According to wiki, he was so disgusted by the “trumpet patriotism” of Russians around the time of the Crimean War, that this pushed him more into the Slavophile inclination, in his thinking and his writing.
But returning to our current-day Engineer Ostrovsky: This man is like a Russian John Galt, except more friendly to the government. He was born in 1951, graduated in 1973 from the Kuybyshev Engineering Institute in Moscow, and ever since then he has been building tons of roads and bridges. At the Sochi Olympics, Mr. Ostrovsky was responsible for the construction of major components of the road infrastructure, including the connector between the Stadium and the “Adler Ring”.
Reporting on the Kerchensky Bridge project during his meeting with Putin, Ostrovsky told the President that the construction site has been partitioned into eight squares, and that construction work has begun on all eight. One of the requirements is that the construction will not impede the normal passage of ships. According to Ostrovsky, stilts will be used.
Construction of the bridge will require the efforts of at least 50,000 laborers. This should prove to be an employment bonanza for migrant construction workers, flocking into the area to obtain a well-paying job.