The International conference “Intercontinental Magistral Eurasia - America”, held by the Council for the Study of Productive Forces (SOPS) with support of the Federal Council of the Russian Federation, the Commerce and Industry Chamber, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, and the Ministry of Energy of Russia took place August 17-19, 2011 in the city of Yakutsk, Yakutia, Russia.
The Conference goal was to establish a cooperative foundation for federal and regional authorities, for Russian and foreign investors and entrepreneurs, and discussion of development issues of the Russian Far East and prospective investment projects.
The Conference Program consisted of formal sections on:
• State investment policy;
• Regional, infrastructural and cluster development;
• Discussion of the “Economic and Social Development of the Arctic Zone of Russia in the years of 2012-2020” State Program;
• Techniques to raise extra-budgetary funds for the implementation of infrastructure investment projects.
It was decided at the Conference to link Asia and North America with the construction more than 65-mile (100-kilometer) long tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the transport systems of Eurasia and America at an estimated cost of $100 billion.
For the direct implementation of this grand plan, the Russian side should be completed, first by 2013 with nearly 500-mile (800-kilometer) segment of the railway, which connects city of Yakutsk with the Trans-Siberian railway; and then by 2030 - add about 2,500 miles (4 thousand km) of railway to Uelen on the Russian coast of the Bering Strait.
Americans, for their part, before reaching the main project of the 21st century - the tunnel, which provides the traffic with high-speed electrified railway, roads, power lines and connections, must pave three thousand miles (4,830 kilometers) of track. (Information to form US-based construction corporation InterBering, and investment opportunity, - click here.)
Meeting of the builders of the underwater tunnel can occur under the Bering Strait over the international timeline passing between the Ratmanov Island (Diomede Island, Russia) and the Krusenstern Island (Little Diomede, USA). If one country completes the railroad to the Bering Strait substantially faster, the entire underwater structure can be build from the winner’s side.
The new road will connect mineral-rich but sparsely populated areas of the world with key overpass through the Bering Strait. Transport of goods by railroad and automobile highway from Eurasia to the USA will be less expensive, faster and safer than by the sea, with the volume of cargo transporting by rail by the northern route reaching 3 percent of the world’s freight. Annual benefits from such transportation could reach 11.5 billion dollars.
There are no technical barriers to construct 65-mile (104-km) underwater tunnel, the experts state, according to which investment in the project can be recouped within 15 years after its entry into service.
In addition, the railroad, which will be connected by land from London to New York City, will attract a large number of tourists wishing to get life-time journey of more than 5,000 miles throughout the Europe to America via beautiful but desert landscapes of Russia, Alaska and Canada.
The tunnel would be the first dry-land connection between the two continents since a land bridge 21,000 years ago, which has dissapeared later underwater. Humans have migrated across the isthmus from Eurasia to North America, recent genetic evidence suggests.
The idea of the tunnel dates back more than a century; when Russian tsar, Nicholas II, approved similar tunnel plans twice, but World War I and then the Russian revolution intervened.
The Soviet revolution leader Vladimir Lenin created the plan to develop desert areas of Siberia and Far East of Russia and build the road to Chukotka peninsula up to the Bering Strait, and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has followed his wishes; but both of them did not have enough life-span to complete this project although they might use unlimited number of free working force provided by the all sorts of prisoners.
During the Cold War, the USSR and United States could not agree on cooperation to connect the shores of their countries, but Russian President Vladimir Putin together with US President George W Bush backed the plan to build the railroad and tunnel to Alaska, with the main intention for selling Russian oil to Americans.
"We should see advanced development of road and rail infrastructure here in the Russian Far East and improvement in the investment climate in Russia as a key aim," Kremlin official Alexander Leventhal, Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev in Far East Federal Region said.
Gennady Alexeyev, First Deputy Chairman of Government of the Sakha Republic, said that his diamond-rich region wants to co-finance the project, especially if the Russian federal budget falls short.
The list of participants of the Conference consisted of the heads of Federal authorities, major Russian companies, business and investment community representatives, Russian Federal, regional and foreign mass media representatives.
Major participants of the International Conference.
ASLAKHANOV Aslambek Akhmedovich. Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs, member of the Federation Council Commission for Cooperation with the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation, a member of the Federation Council on physical culture, sport and development of the Olympic Movement, the representative of the executive body of the Omsk region. Doctor of Law. The main participant of the International Conference "Transcontinental Railway Eurasia - America."
АLEXEYEV Gennady Fyodorovich. First Deputy Chairman of Government of the Sakha Republic.
BORISOV Yegor Afanasievich. President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Doctor of Economics. Keynote address at the plenary session "The infrastructure of the North-East of Russia: from the constraints to growth."
BERSHANSKIY Leonid Igorevich. Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Railway Transport (Roszheldor). The main participant and moderator of the plenary session on "Development of rail and road infrastructure in the Far East and Baikal region."
VOROPAI Nikolai Ivanovich. Director of Melentyev Institute of Power Engineering Systems of SB RAS. Doctor of Technical Sciences. Session Moderator, "Energy and Energy Efficiency".
BRUK Mikhail Lvovich. General Director of JSC "Development Corporation of South Yakutia." The main participant of the plenary session on "Public-Private Partnerships: efficacy and mechanisms for the implementation of infrastructure projects."
KORMILITSINA Ekaterina Ivanovna. The Minister for Enterprise and Tourism Development of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Session Moderator, "The role of integrated development of infrastructure in the North-East of Russia in the implementation of tourism potential."
LEVENTHAL Alexander Borisovich. Ph.D., Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in Far East Federal Region. The main participant of the plenary session, the moderator of the session "Public-Private Partnerships: efficacy and mechanisms for the implementation of infrastructure projects."
PETROV Georgy Georgyevich. Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation. The main participant of the plenary session, of the Association of Business Chambers of Commerce of Northern (polar) areas and Arctic zone.
RADKOV Alexander Vasilyevich. Head of Federal Agency for Tourism. The main participant of the plenary session "The role of integrated development of infrastructure in the North-East of Russia in the implementation of tourism potential.
RAZBEGIN Viktor Nikolaevich. Deputy Head of Deputy Chairman of the Council for the Study of Productive Forces (SOPS). The main participant of the plenary session of the Conference.
SOLZHENITSYN Yermolay Alexandrovich. Managing partner of the Moscow office of McKinsey & Company. The invited expert of the Conference, the moderator of the plenary session, the main participant of the plenary session on "Public-Private Partnerships: efficacy and mechanisms for the implementation of infrastructure projects."
STRUCHKOV Alexey Alexandrovich. First Vice-Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
OKHASI Ivao. The head of the Moscow branch of Nomura Research Institute (NRI). The main participant of the plenary session on "Public-Private Partnerships: efficacy and mechanisms for the implementation of infrastructure projects."
CHABUNIN Anatoly Mikhaylovich. Head of Federal Road Agency. The main participant of the plenary session of the Conference.
SHTYROV Vyacheslav Anatolyevich. Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russian Federation. The guest of honor, the main participant of the plenary sessions of the Conference.
YANOVSKY Anatoly Borisovich. Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russian Federation. The guest of honor, the main participant of the plenary sessions of the Conference.
Based on materials from the Organizing Committee of the International Conference "Integrated Development of Infrastructure in the North-East of Russia."