Ukraine War Day #305: Land Road To Crimea

“Come everyone and see Yermolai Lopakhin lay his axe to the cherry orchard, come and see the trees fall down! We’ll fill the place with villas; our grandsons and great-grandsons shall see a new life here. Here comes the new squire, the owner of the cherry orchard!” (Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard)

Dear Readers:

Firstly, for all of you who celebrate Christmas today, whether religious or secular, gay or straight, cisgender or non-binary, Muslim or Jew [wait, that last one doesn’t work]…

“Except for that guy over there, I don’t like him…”

Anyhow, you know what I mean.

With festive greetings out of the way, it is time to turn to the serious topic of highway infrastructure. I have this piece by reporters Andrei Rezchikov and Mikhail Moshkin.

One important thing we learned from the Ukrainian terrorist attack against the Kerch Bridge, is Crimea’s utter vulnerability. How relatively easy it would be to cut the peninsula off from the Russian mainland. Besides the Bridge, there is just one other practical way to consistently deliver supplies from A to B, and that is the ferry crossing across the Kerch Strait. Which is rather limited and also vulnerable to weather conditions.

Hence, to help solve this logistics problem, the Russian government has come up with a plan to build a super-highway, a high-speed Autobahn, between Rostov-on-Don (Russian mainland) and Simferopol (Crimea). From this map you can deduce the likely route of the highway, it will run from Rostov through Mariupol, Berdyansk, Melitopol, Genichesk, and then down over that thin neck of land to Djanko and on to Simperfopol:

It’s not like roads don’t already exist, but they are back roads, maybe even dirt roads, from what I understand. Travelling by Autobahn will be faster, of course, but still probably slower than just taking the Bridge. [I also wonder if the Russian government has considered something a tad more modern than an Autobahn, for example a high-speed train? I bet they could get the Chinese to build one for them. Just sayin’…]

Thunderdome Or Go Home

Obviously, this opportunity for Russia only came about because of the war. Because the Russians were able to capture Mariupol and the rest of the Azov Sea coast and take all of this prime real estate away from the Ukrainians. On October 4 these areas held referendums and voted to join Russia. People may doubt the legitimacy all they please, but, as the American expression goes, it was “good enough for government work.” The Ukrainians are chock full of rage and swearing to take it all back and then some. And the Russians are, like, “You and what army?” And the Ukrainians are, like, “Me and my NATO army.” And so it goes. Only time will tell which side will win. Remember the rule: Only one man leaves Thunderdome alive.

The point being, if Russia is actually investing money in, and building this Autobahn, that is a sign that they don’t plan to run away from this opportunity.

A few days ago, December 22, Russian President Putin approved a project to build the new Rostov-Sebastopol Autobahn. This information was communicated to the press by Evgeny Balitsky, who runs the Russian-controlled chunk of the Zaporozhie Oblast. Putin stressed the importance of improving all lines of travel which connect Russia’s new territories with Crimea, and with the mainland. According to Balitsky, the new highway will have 4 lanes (2 in each direction) and will look a lot like the existing Kerch-Simferopol-Sebastopol Federal Autobahn that was constructed in 2020.

Oops! A car collided with a truck!
Kerch to Simferopol Autobahn

Construction is set to begin as early as January (that’s next week!) According to Balitsky, all the documentation is in place, and everybody is raring to go. In fact, the Melitopol-Berdyansk segment has already been built, that’s 107 kilometers so far.

Balitsky: “We are proceeding at a brisk pace, to the restoration of infrastructure and roads in these areas which have not seen any construction or repairs for decades now.” And it’s not just this highway: Construction is booming all over Zaporozhie: Just during the month of October, work went on round the clock to repair roads that connect Zaporozhie to Donetsk, and also Melitopol to Kherson. The Ukrainian government administered these regions for 30 years and built nothing, repaired nothing. In just a couple of months, while also waging a war, Russia has built and repaired more than the Ukrainians did in the last 30 years. The roads are built according to Russian standards and are used intensively to deliver food, fuel, and other supplies to the residents of the region.

Road Crews Needed!

Economist Ivan Lizan assures the reporters that weather does not impact very much on the construction of the Autobahn. Even in temperatures minus zero, workers can still start removing the top layer of soil and bring in some rubble from Donetsk. “You can also start laying the asphalt in winter. The main thing is that you have to know what you are doing.”

Ivan Lizan: “They can start laying the asphalt…”

[That’s true, I wish Ivan would tell that to the folks in my town, who never fix the potholes, and their excuse is always, “Well, it’s winter, what can you do…”]

Lizan believes that it is smarter to start with the existing roads and expand them, wherever possible, as opposed to just starting everything from scratch. Well, maybe it’s better to start from scratch, in theory, but that’s awfully expensive and not always necessary. “Why mess with a road that already exists and is in the right place? In places it will be necessary to build detour routes, for example, around Mariupol, so that the big trucks are not allowed to drive right through the center of town. On that note, they have promised in the next two years to finish building a ring road around Rostov.”

Terror Lurks Offstage

Up until now it’s been Happy Talk about building these marvelous new roads and joining communities. But what about the risks? This is a sort of inverted Chekhov play, in which Lopakhin is the business-like hero who wants to build roads and tourist villas. But whose plans may be thwarted at any moment by a vengeful Madame Ranevskaya, who knows exactly where to place the TNT.

Lopakhin: “I’ll put a condominium over there!”
“Oh noes! We can’t let that dreadful man take our land!”

Military expert Vladislav Shurygin concurs that the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) will likely attempt to attack the construction of the new highway: “It is very unlikely that we will be able to conclude the Special Operation in January [next month], hence we should expect Ukraine to do everything in their power to hinder the construction of this Autobahn. Even though it isn’t really much more than the restoration of a route that always existed, connecting Moscow with Sebastopol.”

At the same time the road will have a strategic importance: “Currently the route is 500 kilometers longer than it needs to be, than it would be, with a direct route.” In any case, according to Vadim Koziulin, who works as a Global Researcher for the Russian Ministry of Defense, the new road will be far less vulnerable than the Crimea Bridge, “which needs to be closely guarded 24/7.”

Koziulin is confident that that new road will solve Crimea’s transportation problems once and for all; and will also contribute to the economic development of the region: “This road is necessary for purposes of tourism, logistics, and supplies. It will provide opportunities to business, to the construction of new infrastructure objects, entire new cities.”

And back to Lizan, who paints a rosy image of the future: “The highway linking Rostov to Simferopol will become the logistics hub ensuring the further economic integration of these territories into Russia. The Crimea Bridge will be fully repaired […] and the big trucks will start driving across it once again. The new highway will form a transportation ring along the coast of the Azov Sea. This area, along with the coastal towns, is quite suitable for building tourist resorts. The restoration of the Mariupol Airport will also contribute to this, along with the construction of a new city on the Arabat Spit, that’s the long thin strip of land in the Northeastern section of the Crimean peninsula. In conclusion, we shall see, along the Azov Sea, a giant tourist zone all linked together with a ring highway.”

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11 Responses to Ukraine War Day #305: Land Road To Crimea

  1. Sacha says:

    A close friend of mine lives in Novoazovsk and she had witnessed the hundreds if not more trucks rushing from the former border to mariupol and beyond. I was supposed to go on holidays with their family last summer (plans had been made last year…) to Crimea and when I mentioned to go there by the road through the azov sea shore, she said no way, the road is in bad bad shape in some areas, not secure and some parts even restricted to military convoys. So it seems like it’s a real necessity to make these new russian territories really part of the homeland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for sharing that factual info, it confirms what I had suspected about the state of the roads in those parts. It’s good to build that Autobahn, but I still think Russia should also look into building a high-speed train. That’s a more modern technology, and I think it could also carry military cargo. (Not sure though.)


  2. MrDomingo says:

    Road construction was one area USSR
    seriously under-invested in. Consequence was economic inefficiency that dragged the whole economy down. Productivity matters, even in communist countries. Badly needed highways are being built and that has direct consequence for anyone running a business or even ordinary people needing to get from point A to point B. Whether that that takes 4 hours or 8 hours matters but also wear and tear on vehicles and even the safety of transiting from one place to another.


    • yalensis says:

      Those are good points. Yeah, the USSR focused more on trains and public transport, and less on highways; whereas the U.S. was exactly the opposite. There were a lot of reasons for that, but the Soviets should have invested more in roads. From what I understand, the roads are still dreadful in lots of parts of Russia, especially out in the boondocks. Good point about the wear and tear on the vehicles, that’s definitely a consideration!


  3. Liborio Guaso says:

    The Russians are forced to wait, the attack on Russian Orthodox Christianity has already begun and the situation seems to be getting complicated, we will see if the Ucronazis act by order of their western bosses and that forces the Russians to wait and see what the plans will be Roman Christians after Christmas and how far they intend to go.


  4. Jan says:

    “Only time will tell which side will win.”
    It told us already:

    It takes time to understand the laws and rules of warfare, especially of Russia defeating NATO. Putin’s problem is that he is winning: How to win a war against a nuke armed psychopathic superpower that is simply not able to consider Russia as a peer competitor. It’s like “Russia delenda est”, but this time Carthago defies destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yalensis says:

      Well put, Jan!
      Your last sentence reads very poetic. It should be translated into Latin. Something like (somebody may have a better idea):

      Carthago delenda est.
      Carthago mori negat.

      Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Carthago mori negat’ because Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin et al. are making way too much money from this war for it to stop anytime soon. I think a lot of people overlook the fact that the USA’s economy is largely based on its military industrial complex. General Lloyd Austin sits on the board of directors of Raytheon for that matter; talk about a conflict of interest. The USA no longer has any significant industrial base–with the only exception of weapons production which is massive. The Ukraine war is the PERFECT war for the USA’s defense corporations: the Ukraine army’s voracious appetite for ever more shells, bullets, tanks, APCs, drones, HIMARS, RPGs etc translates into billions of dollars of profits for these war corporations. And the best thing about using the troops of another country in a proxy war means there is no messy American casualties which would make the American public demand an end to the fighting, as happened in Viet Nam. The US economy since WWII is in fact based on war, be it hot or cold: the only thing which pulled American capitalism out of the Great Depression was WWII’s massive military spending. The defense corporations always, always need to invent a new enemy to justify defense spending from Congress. Peace, in fact, is anathema to American style capitalism which is in fact based on war.


      • yalensis says:

        Sadly, every word you wrote is true.


        • Jan says:

          I wanted to write
          Per aspera ad astra
          but wiki told me it’s the leitmotiv of several Anglo-Saxon military units.
          No thank you 😅😅😅

          I like the sound and know a little of Italian, so my Motto for Russia is:
          che non uccide, ci eleva

          Some day Russian historians will discover that the US insanity was exactly what Russia needed to regain souvereignity. No argument could have done it.


          • yalensis says:

            I know. A lot of people were doing the Gregers Werle thing, screaming for years that NATO wanted to dismember and destroy Russia. But the Russian leadership just shrugged and didn’t want to listen. I guess they had to see with their own eyes! And now little Hedvig knows the truth.


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