Russian government plans development of Siberian Rivers

More dredging is planned for Siberian rivers. Credit: Vladislav Vorotnikov

The Russian Ministry of Far East Development has presented a major plan of expanding transport infrastructure on Siberian rivers. Speaking during an international conference in the Yakutia Republic in late February, Alexander Krutikov, Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, said that major dredging operations are being planned in this part of Russia.

The Russia government wishes to develop the Arctic settlements known as uluses, the territories inhabited by Russia’s indigenous tribes. They often remain isolated from the national transport system. To secure better accessibility to these territories, dredging works are being planned on the rivers Anabar, Lena, Yana, Indigirka, and Koluma, Krutikov said.

“The dredging along with the subsequent establishment of shipping routes is a crucial factor for the development of the Arctic part of Yakutia,” said Krutikov. The upcoming project should have both an industrial and social footprint. It should also cut costs of food delivery to the local settlements.

“It is in Yakutia where we are implementing a pilot project of creating a network of trade and logistics centres aimed at cutting the cost of food supplies to this region,” Krutikov said.

The benefits of the project, however, are not limited to that, Krutikov stressed, not adding any further details, including when dredging operations were expected to begin.

Yakutia is the largest subnational governing body by area in the world at 3,083,523 sq km and is known for its extreme and severe climate, with the lowest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. Some rivers in the region are flowing to the North-Siberian Sea, which is a part of the Northern Sea Route.

In December 2019, Russian officials said that they were discussing dredging on the Siberian rivers, including Ob and Irtysh, the main target of which would be connecting the major industrial centres in Siberia with the Northern Sea Route.