Passport

Watch Cheerful Russian Construction Workers Build an Illegal Bridge

Russia's 12-mile bridge to Crimea is "building the future."

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A multi-ethnic, multi-generational collection of hardworking Russian patriots stare into the camera as they each pitch in to build a bridge linking Russia to the occupied Ukraine territory of Crimea. “It’s my pride,” says a welder. “It’s for my children,” says a graying, mustachioed foreman. “It’s for the ages,” says a crane operator.

The bridge will act as a four-lane highway and two-track rail line connecting Crimea, which at the moment is accessible by road only from Ukraine, to Russia, which illegally annexed the peninsula in March 2014.

The project is already behind schedule. The initial $3.5 billion contract was awarded to a childhood friend of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, Arkady Rotenberg, and called for opening the bridge to both cars and test rail runs by December 2018. The railway segment is now slated to go into operation no earlier than late 2019.

Previous attempts at linking Crimea to Russia have ended in failure. In World War II, the Nazis began building a bridge that was supposed to last for decades. The Soviets then took over construction and completed it in 1944, but the bridge collapsed just six months later. A strong current in the strait and a muddy seabed beneath the waves have made building bridges over it an exceptionally hard engineering challenge.

Putin can only hope his latest imperial vanity project comes to a happier conclusion.

Watch the slick piece of Russian government propaganda here:

Image Credit: Sputnik/Youtube

Henry Johnson is a fellow at Foreign Policy. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in history and previously wrote for LobeLog. Twitter: @HenryJohnsoon
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