Russky bridge is a bridge to a sparsely populated Russky island in the Far East whose construction started in 2008 and completed in 2012. It is the world's largest cable-stayed bridge, the 1104 m long central span of which is also record-breaking. The bridge has the highest bridge pylons in the world with a height of 321 m.

The bridge has six lanes with a capacity of 50 000 cars per day.

But the total island's population is only 5 000 people most of whom do not have cars. The island has no road network so the bridge terminates with a dead end. The people who live on the island still have to use a ferry to reach the mainland even after the bridge construction completed.

The cost of the bridge construction at over 1 billion dollars is equal to the annual budget of the whole Primorkiy Krai.

So what was the actual purpose of the construction of the bridge?

  • 1
    Huh, that is really strange...+1 – Russell Oct 19 '12 at 7:42
  • Year 2008 seems more in scope of Skeptics than History. – kubanczyk Oct 19 '12 at 12:04
  • 1
    @kubanczyk As I know skeptics do not answer such questions. – Anixx Oct 19 '12 at 13:30
  • Possible political and economic reasons for the construction of a historically significant structure definitely falls into our bailiwick. – RI Swamp Yankee Oct 19 '12 at 13:39
  • 1
    The problem is that there is no way to provide a single, factual answer. One can only speculate on the reasons for why this was built, and that in turn would solicit discussion, opinion, or debate. This question does not fit the SE guidelines. – Steven Drennon Oct 19 '12 at 15:19

Without access to the deliberations in the Russian Presidential cabinet, I doubt we'll ever know for sure, but it looks like it was built as a propaganda project. It's a showpiece, and not meant to fill a practical role. Despite the enormous cost, there are three reasons why it may have seemed a good idea at the time.

1) China is rapidly modernizing, and Chinese public works and architectural projects seen as the most advanced in the world. By building the bridge, Russia can prove to other regional players in the Asian Pacific that it is still relevant as an industrial power. Russia has spent the equivalent of $21bln USD on infrastructure upgrades to Vladivostok in the hopes of luring more international business - Mazda has just opened up a plant, and others will be opening soon. The bridge is just a landmark, a billion dollar sandwich-board announcing that the Russian East is a part of the industrialized and modern Asian Pacific.

2) It was built in competition with the Gravina Island "Bridge to Nowhere" - it was a pure pork-barrel boondoggle, but a resurgent Russia influenced by Putin's leadership may have misread the politics and seen it as US vanity project to demonstrate its wealth and power in the Pacific Rim. Putin is a seasoned "cold warrior", and the urge to one-up a traditional rival with an even more extravagant folly may have proven overwhelming to his party's policy in the far east.

3) The United Russia party can get political support from allies in Vladivostok to advance their agenda with a pork barrel payoff to businesses and workers, and this will keep the region loyal to the Administration in Moscow despite the distance.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    It is generally thought to be a Madvedev's idea, not Putin's. – Anixx Oct 19 '12 at 13:54
  • @Anixx - Good point, tho Medvedev's independence is somewhat in question. I'll change the answer to reflect your input. – RI Swamp Yankee Oct 19 '12 at 13:59
  • 1
    I hope your #2 was a joke... I chose to laugh rather than cry. – T.E.D. Oct 19 '12 at 21:17

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.