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'A quarter of the world's timber grows within Siberia’s boundaries'
W.Bruce Lincoln

High speed rail, better ski-ing, mega-investment: Medvedev maps out Siberia's future

By The Siberian Times reporter
02 April 2013

A theme of modernisation was behind the prime minister's swing through Siberia this week.

'The resort is excellent, with a lot of pistes and a lot of people. It is very good to have it here in Siberia'. Picture: Dmitry Medvedev Facebook

In Novokuznetsk he visited the West Siberian Metallurgical Plant - part of the London-based Evraz Group - which is pioneering rail production suitable for high speed trains. Dmitry Mevdeved inspected new 100-metre tracks which are due for testing amid hopes to attract further investment before being sold on the Russian and international markets. 

The plant's co-owners include tycoons Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov. 

'No matter what they say, Russia will have to expand its high-speed railways network', Medvedev told workers at the plant after inspecting the production line.  

'And, of course, all high-speed railways have these tracks. So, not only was I overcome with pride, I felt truly pleased, and I would like to congratulate you on this'.

On another visit in Kemerovo region, he urged an expansion of Siberian tourist potential at a ski and snow-boarding resort - Sheregesh - seen as capable of reaching world standards in future. 

'The resort is excellent, with a lot of pistes and a lot of people', he said. 'It is very good to have it here in Siberia'.

Dmitry Medvedev Siberia April 2013


Dmitry Medvedev Siberia April 2013


Dmitry Medvedev Siberia April 2013

Russian PM urged an expansion of Siberian tourist potential at a ski and snow-boarding resort - Sheregesh - seen as capable of reaching world standards.  Pictures: Dmitry Medvedev Facebook/Instagram

To expand he urged cutting the prices at the resort, where he skied and checked the pistes on a snowmobile, also finding times to photograph an area nicknamed 'Siberian Switzerland'.

'I myself did not pay, but I know prices are rather high', Medvedev explained. 

Later, he flew to Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha, also called Yakutia, in eastern Siberia where Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Viktor Ishayev spoke of a 20 trillion rouble boost to Russia's GDP volume as a result of plans to enhance economic development in eastern Siberia and the Far East. 

'There will be payback for money invested into the region', Medvedev said.

'The Russian economy will annually get 0.3-percent GDP growth. By 2025 we will get an additional 20.6 trillion roubles in the GDP'.

Dmitry Medvedev Siberia April 2013


Dmitry Medvedev Siberia April 2013

'Russia will have to expand its high-speed railways network, with all high-speed railways having these tracks. Not only was I overcome with pride, I felt truly pleased, and I would like to congratulate you on this'. Pictures: Dmitry Medvedev Facebook/Instagram

He stressed: 'The development of the Far East is extremely important for the Far East residents, but it is also extremely important for the Russian economy as a whole'.

Keen internet user Medvedev expressed concern for 'alternative' ways to deliver high speed Internet to Siberia's most remote regions. 

'We need to simply develop new, alternative ways to route Internet traffic in order to reduce the cost of connection and the price of 1 megabit', he said.

His response came to concern expressed  at a meeting of the ruling United Russia Party in Yakutsk.

Medvedev promised to quiz major telecommunications operator Rostelecom about its tariff policy in Sakha (Yakutia) and Chukotka, after concerns voiced at the session. He also told the party's hierarchy to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Communist Party which ruled the Soviet Union for more than seven decades.

Medvedev, leader of United Russia, said:  'We do not aspire to be the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, particularly as it did not turn out very well.'

He urged activists: 'Let's go our own way, as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin used to say.'

He also blamed officials for leaving an entire town - one of the most far-flung in Russia - without proper connections to the outside world after the closure of its civilian airfield. 

'They made a real mistake, putting the existence of a whole town at risk', he complained. 'It's outrageous. That it was not worked out in advance is obvious.'

He demanded that civilian and defence leaders find a solution for the 5,100 population, one of the world's most northerly settlements.

'I'm going to chair a session of the State Commission today; the chief of the General Staff will be present, I'll issue the relevant instruction. We cannot delay it any longer. Hopefully, all  necessary equipment at the Tiksi airfield will be restored in the shortest possible time.'

Since the airfield was closed in October, only helicopter flights have been possible. Reconstruction of the airport's 1,750 metre runway was due to begin in spirng and is to be completed in 2015.  Medvedev wants the airport to again accept An-24 turboprop planes in the immediate future.

Comments (3)

It is a pity that Evraz is not based in Russia. Royal Dutch Shell had two headquarters, one in the Netherlands (the Hague) and another in London. So could be the case of Evraz, with one headquarter in Moscow and another in London....
Enrique, Spain
31/07/2013 23:31
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the Southern Strip of Siberia is as heavly populated as the Southern Strip of Canada, both with a population of over 30 million people. Same way as the railway and highway systems from Toronto to Vancouver, the railway and superhighway systems from Ekaterinburg to Vladivostok. For the rest of Siberia, it is better using renewable energy (windmills, solar plants, hydropower) and waterways...but doesn´t make sense spending billions building a superhighway to the isolated villages in the Artic. Same can be said about fiber optics for Telecoms, which are usually placed next to the railway and superhighway. Apart from oil, gas and chemical industries, fishing and timber are as important industries, and more value added products in those areas are needed (paper, cardboard, processed food etc).....
Enrique, Spain
30/07/2013 18:14
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Despite it's rather harsh and long winters Siberia has massive potential for expansion and with improvements in infrastructure along with correct marketing it can be a wonderful tourist destination for many in the world. One company 56th Parallel is doing a wonderful job to encourage Australians to visit. I came on a tour and have since came back to live in Siberia and study the Russian language and culture. Siberia is one of the last great unknowns for many in the world.
Dennis, Krasnoyarsk Russia (from Melbourne Australia)
04/04/2013 16:42
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1

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