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Bering Strait Tunnel Popularized More and More in Russia

April 9, 2008 (EIRNS)—It's not known with certainty, whether or not Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up the project for a multimodal transport connection across the Bering Strait, when he met with President George Bush at Sochi on April 6. Scores of Russian press articles had anticipated that he would, citing a Sunday Times of London report that put together a Kremlin official's mention of "a real bridge" between the USA and Russia, with Chukotka Region Governor Roman Abramovich's purchase of a giant tunnel-boring drill. The Bering Strait was not mentioned at the post-summit press conference, nor in any releases, but the Russian publicity has not abated.

The transportation website www.kolesa.ru ("kolesa" means "wheels"), on April 7, noted that "it wasn't on the official agenda," but "it very well may be that there was discussion at Sochi of the somewhat extravagant, but nonetheless truly impressive, project of joining the two continents through an underground link." Argumenty i fakty, Russia's most widely circulated print publication, had an article the same day, titled "Chukotka - Alaska: a Map of the Crossing." This article stated in tones of certainty, that the project "should be started in the near future." Besides the bore acquisition by Abramovich's Infrastruktura company, AiF reprised the history of the Bering Strait project since the turn of the 19th-to-20th centuries, including the creation of the Interhemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group. It gave a cross-section graphic of the Bering Strait showing a tunnel, albeit with only cars, not rail. The AiF article was picked up by Pravda.ru, among others, and further circulated today.

The surge in popularization of the Bering Strait project comes amid efforts by people in Russia who have advocated infrastructure and manufacturing as key to the nation's future, to ensure that already planned such projects are continued under the new leadership, when Putin moves to the premiership and President Dmitri Medvedev takes office, on May 7.