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Defence Highway Construction (FDSU)
Road Construction Troops

The Soviet Ministry of Defense included components ancillary to its core functions. These included Railroad Troops and the Construction Troops, which were separated from the regular armed forces in the 1990s. The Soviet Ministry of Defense's military reform proposal called for the elimination of Road Construction units from the Soviet Armed Forces by 1994, a step which should significantly ease the military's problems with dedovshchina. Some of the formations were made independent entities, such as the Federal Road Construction Administration [Federal Road Agency] and others were absorbed by other agencies. In 1995 Defence Highway Construction (FDSU) numbered about 170,000 troops, commanded by MajGen Ivan D. Marchuk, with a budget of 397,000 trillion roubles.

On 17 July 1997 President Boris Yeltsin signed a number of decrees dealing with the reform of the armed forces after meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. After the meeting it was announced that Chernomyrdin's Commission on Military Construction would submit its reform proposals to the president on 25 July 1997. The drastic reduction of the military Construction Troops appears set to continue; the Defense Ministry's Road Construction Troops were reportedly transferring its units to the Federal Road Service.

The Ministry of Atomic Energy, Ministry of Communications, and the State Construction Committee all received their own military construction units. In 2004 the railroad troops and some construction units, notably Spetsstroy, were returned to the Ministry of Defense.

The motives for separating these troops from the Ministry of Defense, and then returning them later, did not derive from some plan to divide the armed forces to render them less of a threat to the state, since Construction and Railroad Troops are not obvious praetorians. Rationalizing administration also seemed an unlikely explanation for these multiple changes and reorganizations. The likely motive for these steps seemed economic. Controling construction troops, consisting largely of draftees, provides a ready source of effectively "slave labor" for agenct that controls it, and this labor can easily be converted into money. Military officers figured out how to sell or rent military assets for money. Conscripts and even contract soldiers were "rented" by their commanding officers to businessmen to perform menial labor, such as construction.

In November 2002 a new scandal involving incumbent Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin was beginning. Web site Grani-Ru reported that Kvashnin approved expenditures of the military budget connected with road construction to the detriment of the Defense Ministry. Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kosovan spoke against such a conclusion. He asks, "What does the Defense Ministry have in common with road construction?" It was difficult to argue with such an opinion. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov agreed with this too, when he invalidated the resolution of Kvashnin.

Directorate for Road Construction and Vehicles

The "The Golden Carriage [Zolotaya Kolesnitsa]" is the most prestigious award of transportation sector in The Russian Federation. The National Public Prize of Transport of Russia named Zolotaya Kolesnitsa (Gold Chariot) was established by the State Duma Committee in Power Industry, Transport and Communication and the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation. This is a public prize given to the managers and staffs representing the transport of Russia, freight services, transport theory and education, as well as the adjacent branches. In June 2007 the winners of the Zolotaya Kolesnitsa (Gold Chariot) prize were named. On October 26, 2007, in Moscow, at the stage of the State Kremlin Palace, the 3rd National Public Prize Laureates of Transport of Russia were celebrated.

In the course of three-stage selection they were determined by respected experts and approved by the members of the presidium. But already in March 2007 it was known definitely who would take the stage of the Kremlin State Palace. The new nomination "for strengthening international relations" was won by representatives of the Central Directorate for Road Construction and Vehicles of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. All officers and soldiers, who took part in rebuilding the transport infrastructure of the Republic of Lebanon, won their deserved Zolotaya Kolesnitsa and medals. This decision was already confirmed by the members of the presidium.

Federal Road Agency (RosAvtoDor)
Federal Road-building Management (FDSU)
Federal Road Construction Administration (FDSU)
Russian Federal Highway Department
Federal Road Service

The Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation is a federal executive body in charge of rendering state services in management of state property in the sphere of motor transport and road facilities, including management of federal motor roads. The field of Rosavtodor's competence also includes performing the functions of the state customer of federal goal-oriented, scientific-and-technical and innovation programs and projects in certain lines of activity. Federal Highway Agency is a state body responsible for initiating of special federal, scientific and technical and innovation programs and projects including the "Highways" subordinate program of the "Modernization of Russian highway system (years 2002-2010)" program.

Management of federal motor roads is carried out by Rosavtodor both directly and through a system of federal public institutions and their affiliates. This system includes the following organizations: 10 federal motor road agencies; 22 motor highway agencies; 4 road construction administrations. There are also 195 federal public unitary enterprises under Rosavtodor's authority which carry out renovation and maintenance work on the federal motor road network. The total book cost of the property assigned to those enterprises is about 8.570 billion rubles.

Controlled objects are 47.300 km of Federal highways, 5696 bridges and overpasses plus all the property required to ensure uninterrupted all-the-year-round functioning of federal highways. The total book cost of the property complex, which operational management is performed by Rosavtodor, makes up about 515.5 billion roubles. The total book cost of the federal property assigned to these enterprises on the basis of the economic management right comes to 8.8 billion roubles.

Besides construction and maintenance of federal highways the wide range of Rosavtodor's activity includes emergency monitoring and registration of land resources within the Agency's field of activity. Some problems of the Agency are connected with the remoteness of its territorial structures functioning throughout Russia and the absence of an integrated information complex. Rosavtodor's moving to a new level of informatization in the long run will ensure the improvement of user properties of federal motor roads.

Federal Highway Agency operates in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal laws, decrees by the President of the Russian Federation, decrees and resolutions issued by the Russian Government, corresponding international agreements and orders and decrees by Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation. The Head of Federal Highway Agency is appointed or dismissed by the Russian Government at the suggestion of the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation.

As repeatedly pointed out by the Federal Roadway Agency, the general approach to the quality of roadway construction has likewise drastically improved since 2005. Thus, several important resolutions have been passed regarding the increase in the road surface longevity, which will allow for future repair savings.

Agriculture, one of the sectors the government is trying to boost, is particularly hurt by the poor roads infrastructure. Transportation accounts for 40 percent of the net cost of domestic agriculture products, while the same figure in Europe stands at 10 percent to 12 percent, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said. Bad roads are a major reason why Russia's meat and milk industries are suffering, it added.

Russia's Transport Ministry, that generally advocates revival of road funds, has been long concerned with money shortage in the road industry, blaming all road misfortunes on it. In 2006 Oleg Belozerov, head of the Federal Road Agency, said that Russia needed to spend between 600 billion rubles and 800 billion per year to maintain and build roads. Belozerov's figures were much higher than those he gave at a briefing in September 2005, when he said Russia needed at least 400 billion rubles per year to develop its roads infrastructure. He said then that the government was on track to spend 131 billion rubles in 2005. A total of 250 billion rubles (close to $9 billion) in budget funds was spent on roads in 2005, a spokesman for the ministry said Friday. It was not clear whether this included regional and municipal funding as well as federal funding. The Finance Ministry, however, was not encouraging, restating its position that extra spending risked driving up inflation. "The budget cannot be stretched endlessly," ministry spokesman Vitaly Krasnyuk said. He suggested that one possible solution to the problems would be for road workers to do a better job.

In February 2008 Vladimir Putin admitted the administrative reform had been a failure. "The Cabinet's structure created over the past four years has not functioned properly," Putin said at his last news conference as Russia's president. In recent days, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, the candidate for the presidency, had announced new ideas on how to improve the government's structure. They have the same logic: there is a problem, so there should be a separate structure [to deal with it]. First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov favored a special structure to supervise road construction (he did not specify what will happen to the Federal Highway Agency, or Rosavtodor), while the transport ministry wants to submit to the government its proposal to establish a special agency responsible for traffic safety (the role played by the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate under this plan was unclear).

Soviet Roads

The Soviet Union had 1,609,900 kilometers of highways in 1987, of which 1,196,000 kilometers were hard-surfaced (asphalt, concrete, stone block, asphalt-treated, gravel, or crushed stone) and 413,600 kilometers were earth. A total of 488.5 billion ton-kilometers of freight was transported by trucks, primarily on short hauls for agricultural sector in 1986; 48.8 billion passengers boarded, primarily commuters transported by bus. Use of private automobiles was limited.

During the 1920s economic dislocation was aggravated by the deplorable state of roads and bridges, and a big shortage of the means of transport. In his talk with H.G. Wells, V.I. Lenin, that "dreamer in the Kremlin", as the British writer called him, said that highways would soon crisscross the country. However, at that time it was necessary to restore what had been devastated, rather than to build anew.

The first plants manufacturing road-building machines, tractors and lorries were opened in Petrozavodsk, Leningrad, Moscow and Yaroslavl in the 1920s. By 1928 there were about 15,000 kilometres of decent roads in the country. The commissioning of new motor works in Nizhni Novgorod, Moscow and Yaroslavl also stepped up road-building. By January 1, 1938, there were 580,000 cars and lorries in the country. The USSR manufactured 200,000 automobiles annually and held fourth place in the world. Much attention was paid to personnel training. In 1926 a scientific research institute of road-building was opened, and in 1930 - the Moscow Automobile and Road Construction Institute training engineers in these fields. The country's first plant of cold asphalt concrete was commissioned in Moscow in 1932. By the end of 1938 the 700-kilometer long motor highway Moscow - Minsk was completed. It was built practically by hand by an army of inmates of hard-labor camps. This "method" of road construction was used in other places, too.

Enormous damage was done to the road system during the fighting, but military road construction units and civil road builders, the latter then under a "Special Directorate of Military Road Works . . . of the NKVD," are credited with building or repairing 140,000 km of motor roads in the World War II era. During the Great Patriotic War the road-building units of the Soviet Army restored about 100,000 kilometers of roads, built, repaired and restored 1,103 kilometers of bridges, and made 206 big ferries. During the war 91,000 kilometers of highways and thousands of bridges were destroyed.

Since 1945 Soviet authorities continued highway construction. All work for highway restoration was headed by the Ministry of Road Construction and Engineering. In 1952 the Ministry of Automobile Transport and Highways was organized. More road-building machines were turned out, however, while the Soviet Union was in the lead as far as their number was concerned, their quality left much to be desired. In the immediate postwar years, perhaps up to several million forced laborers (mostly political prisoners), plus several hundred thousand POW's, worked on the roads under MVD supervision. Development and administration of certain national and defense highways of all-Union significance were supervised from Moscow by an MVD element called the Main Directorate of Highway Construction. In addition, through the 1950's, all men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 were theoretically liable for 6 days' labor on the roads annually.

By the mid-1960s the 480,000-kilometer Soviet surfaced road network - excluding dirt roads but including gravel and other inferior type surfaces - was only one-tenth that of the US and the Soviet network of asphalt and concrete roads was only one-fourteenth of the US figure. In August 1968 Soviet officials announced a stepped up highway construction program to provide for a yearly increase of about 20 percent in the construction of surfaced roads during 1971-80. As a result, 40,000 kilometers of new surfaced roads were to be commissioned in 1975 and more than 100,000 kilometers in 1980, compared with about 13,000 kilometers in 1968 and 15,000 kilometers planned for 1969.

By 1987 the public road networks, which excluded roads of industrial and agricultural enterprises, amounted to 1,609,900 kilometers, of which 1,196,000 kilometers were in the hard-surfaced category--concrete, asphalt, or gravel. Nevertheless, about 40 percent of this category of roads were gravel. In addition, there were 413,900 kilometers of unsurfaced roads.

The Soviet Union used precast concrete slabs as routine pavement construction for roads and airfields. They also offered particular advantages for construction in adverse weather, rapid installation, maintenance on unfavorable soils, and construction in remote or environmentally sensitive areas. The Soviet precast concrete industry was well developed, and precast pavement construction continued to evolve as an alternative method to cast in-place concrete pavements in the USSR and allied nations. Soviet technical literature of the 1960s and early 1970s contains a number of descriptions of precast concrete road pavements as temporary roads, under heavy industrial traffic in the Donbass, on the Kiev-Odessa highway, in the Moscow area, and elsewhere with generally favorable assessments.

The road network varied in density according to the geographic area and the industrial concentration. Thus, the Estonian Republic had the highest road density while the Russian and Kazakh republics had the lowest. The latter republics, however, contained vast, economically underdeveloped and sparsely populated areas. Overall, the European portion, excluding the extreme northern and Arctic areas, had the densest road network, particularly in areas having concentrations of industries and population.

In 1989 many roads were not all-weather roads but rather were unimproved and unstable in bad weather, especially during thaws and rains. Except for 25,000 kilometers of all-weather surfaces, all rural roads in the European and Central Asian parts of the country, as well as all roads in Siberia and the Far East, were little better than dirt tracks. Trucks, carrying light loads (fewer than four tons) and traveling at low speeds, broke down frequently. These roads caused delays in shipments, high fuel consumption, and increased tire wear. In marshy and permafrost areas, unsurfaced roads were usable only when the ground and rivers were frozen, from about November to May. Russians have coined a word, rasputitsa, to describe the time of year when roads are impassable. Repair and refueling facilities along rural roads were rare or nonexistent. Nevertheless, in rural areas, roads were the prime arteries for shipping farm products and bringing in the required equipment and supplies. Poor road conditions were a major factor in the Soviet Union's serious agricultural problems, particularly the one of perishables spoiling before they reached the market. Rural populations relied on bus transportation over poor roads for essential access to urban areas.

Russian Roads

In some areas of Russia roads are practically non-existent. In rural areas, it is not uncommon to find livestock crossing roadways at any given time. Construction sites or stranded vehicles are often unmarked by flares or other warning signals. Sometimes cars have only one headlight with many cars lacking brake lights. Bicycles seldom have lights or reflectors. Due to these road conditions, be prepared for sudden stops at any time. Learn about your route from an auto club, guidebook or government tourist office. Some routes have heavy truck and bus traffic, while others have poor or nonexistent shoulders; many are one-way or do not permit left-hand turns. Also, some of the newer roads have very few restaurants, motels, gas stations or auto repair shops along their routes.

The geometric aspects of a highway include features that affect or relate to its operational quality and safety. These features, which are visible to the driver and affect driving performance, include elements of the roadways, ramps, and roadside. Roadways have features related to: roadway curvature (horizontal and vertical alignment); intersections and interchanges; cross sections (e.g., number of lanes and lane width, presence of shoulders and curbs); channelization and medians; and other miscellaneous elements (e.g., driveways, bridges). Ramps have features related to: type (e.g., freeway, arterial, entrance, exit); configuration (e.g., diamond, loop, trumpet, etc.); length; curvature; and other miscellaneous elements (e.g., speed-change lanes). Physical features of the roadside include: barriers (e.g., guide rails); obstacles (e.g., noise barriers, trees, signs); and other miscellaneous features (embankment slopes, ditches, etc.).

Roads were one of the least-used forms of transportation in the Soviet Union, a characteristic that has continued in the Russian Federation. In 1995 Russia had 934,000 kilometers of roads, compared with 6.3 million kilometers in the United States. Of Russia's total, 209,000 kilometers were unpaved, and 445,000 kilometers were not available for public use because they served specific industries or farms. The World Bank estimated that by 2015 the demands of Russia's new economy will increase the road system's share of transportation to 41 percent from its 1992 level of 13 percent. However, in 1992 some 38 percent of Russia's highway system required rehabilitation or reconstruction, and another 25 percent required repaving. Many major bridges also required large-scale repair in the mid-1990s.

Russia's transportation system -- specifically its highways -- were built without using competitive procurement procedures, modern construction techniques, or rigorous quality control measures. They were also constructed with little consideration of changing consumer demands, market-based energy costs, or efficiency. Up to 70 percent of all freight is moved by rail, including much of the short-haul freight typically carried by truck in Western Europe and the United States.

During the 1990s one of the major problems facing Russian highway construction and major equipment acquisition efforts was the absence of debt or bond financing of capital improvements. All capital projects now proceed on a pay-as-you-go basis. As a result, very little of the needed road construction or reconstruction and equipment replacement can take place. Also, capital project construction was stretched out over several years, not because of inferior materials or construction techniques, but rather, due to the necessity of multi-year funding of large capital projects.

When it comes to comfort and safety, the current state of automobile roadways in Russia is quite lamentable. Meanwhile, in a country as large as Russia, with its immense spaces, roads are of utmost importance. It is certainly impossible to revitalize the entire roadway network all at once. One believes it was not accidental that Russian President Vladimir Putin placed the country's roads at the very top of the immediate objectives list in his November 2006 address to the Presidium of the State Council. The state of the roadways is likely to have a direct impact on the well-being of the residents of entire regions. It also has the capacity for a considerable impact - positive as well as negative - on the general state of the country's economy.

The project for long-term support of roadway development through 2025 failed to secure the necessary support with the authorities. Between 2000 and 2005, state roadway network financing decreased from 4.9% to 3% of the federal budget. Consequently, the rate of completion for new and repaired roadways during that period decreased by four times, with the volume of repair work also dropping significantly.

By 2007 Russia's automotive fleet numbered some 31 million vehicles. Automotive transport was responsible for 77% of cargo traffic. Naturally, the roadway infrastructure found itself unprepared for such heavy loads. The Russian Federal Roadway Agency estimated that the country's minimum requirements called for 1.5 to 2 million kilometers of roads; in reality, only about 1 million kilometers existed, with public roads comprising a mere half of that. Federal roadways deserved a separate mention: while they bear over 40% of the cargo traffic, their combined length was only 47,000 kilometers, or about 4% of the country's entire roadway network.

The high accident level remains the main scourge of the Russian roads. The main focus of the federal roadway construction and repair is lowering the accident rate. To that effect, there exist specialized programs for installing and/or replacing the missing divider and shoulder barriers, road signs, marking, proper lighting, etc. As for the investment resources, they are concentrated in the construction of the most critical and capital-intensive objects as determined by the Transportation Network Modernization Federal Targeted Program.

Russian Automotive Industry

In 1910 a railroad car factory in Riga began producing the first passenger automobiles and trucks in imperial Russia. Under the Soviet regime, automotive transportation developed more slowly than in western Europe and the United States. As early as the 1930s, problems of poor road infrastructure, shortage of spare parts, and insufficient fueling, repair, and maintenance facilities plagued automotive transportation. Some manufacturing plants were set up with Western help.

During World War II, automotive production concentrated almost exclusively on trucks and light, jeep-like vehicles. Their chassis were also adapted for armored cars and amphibious and other types of military vehicles. During major battles and operations, automotive transportation carried needed troops and matériel to the front. While Leningrad lay besieged (1941-44), trucks, driving over the frozen surface of Lake Ladoga, brought in about 600,000 tons of supplies and brought out over 700,000 persons. During the entire war, Soviet automotive transport carried over 101 million tons of freight in support of military operations. A sizable portion of the Soviet vehicle fleet was provided by the United States as part of the lend-lease agreement.

The Russian appetite for personal automobiles is voracious. During Soviet times, average citizens spent years on waiting lists for the 4 or 5 models of car available, most based on 1960s technology. Quality control was minimal, as whatever product rolled off the production line was eagerly snapped up.

Throughout the economic turmoil of the 1990s, as many industries declined precipitously, Russia's giant auto plants remained relatively unaffected. With the advent of high inflation, auto parts even became a valuable barter commodity. As the Russian market opened to imports the few wealthy Russians able to afford imported vehicles opted for new foreign cars. At the same time, imported used cars began to compete with new Russian cars in the rapidly expanding mass market. The financial crisis of 1998 and the significant devaluation of the Russian ruble made imports more expensive and thus provided a stimulus to Russian manufacturers.

By 2003 approximately 24.5 million vehicles were on Russian roads, including 19.5 million cars of which 4.6 million are foreign imports. The replacement rate is expected to be high in the coming years as almost 50 percent of cars in Russia's car park are over 10 years old. In 2001, Russian customers purchased 1.5 million cars. This figure includes 1 million new Russian-made cars, 100,000 new imported cars and 400,000 used imports. In 2007, many imported car dealers again reported record results by increasing sales of new cars from 1,000,000 vehicles in 2006 to over 1,650,000 in 2007. The total Russian motor vehicle fleet was estimated at 36 million units, including 26 million cars.

In the 2005-2007 period the Russian automotive market was growing at an annual rate of 20-25%. This had been and will most probably continue to be the fastest growing automotive market in Europe. According to industry analysts if growth rates stayed high, the Russian automotive market will become the largest in Europe by 2015. By 2007 the Russian auto market was booming. According to the estimates of the U.S. car industry, within five years Russia would be the largest single-country automobile market in Europe -- larger than Germany or the United Kingdom. According to some automobile companies' estimates in 2008, Russia would become Europe's largest car market by 2009.

The auto industry in Russia is centered near the cities of Togliatti in the Samara region and Nizhni Novgorod. The giant AvtoVaz auto plant, one of Russia's largest industrial enterprises, is located in the city of Togliatti. The plant boasts an annual output of 750,000 Lada and Zhiguli models, approximately three quarters of Russia's car output, and had annual sales of approximately $3 billion. AvtoVaz produced cars in the $3,000 to $6,000 range for the Russian market and exports about 10% of its output to the former Soviet republics.

The GAZ car plant in Nizhni Novgorod produced around 250,000 Volga sedans and Gazelle light trucks. GAZ also has a successful truck division, which it rolled into a 50/50 joint venture with the Italian firm Iveco in late 2002. GAZ was recently purchased by the Base Element industrial group and has a new management team, which is actively seeking ways to enhance the value of its assets.

There were several projects underway to assemble foreign cars in Russia. Ford's new plant began operation in July 2002 in a suburb of St. Petersburg, and the demand for Russian-manufactured Focuses exceeded even the best expectations. This high demand for the new Focus model made Ford one of the sales leaders in 2007 with over 100,000 vehicles sold. The GM-AvtoVAZ joint venture, which manufactures the Chevrolet-Niva SUV since September 2002, is also selling successfully. In 2005, Renault started manufacturing a low-cost Logan vehicle at a Moscow-based facility. The Russian company SOK started assembly of KIA Spectra in Izhevsk with planned annual output of 40,000 vehicles. The Russian company SeverstalAuto set up assembly of Ssang Yong SUVs and Fiat low-cost sedans in Yelabuga . In December 2007, Toyota launched into operation an assembly facility in St. Petersburg which is going to manufacture 50 Camry vehicles annually. General Motors, Nissan, Suzuki and Hyundai plants are under construction in St. Petersburg while Volkswagen and Peugeot-Citroen facilities are being built in Kaluga.

Other smaller foreign CKD car assembly projects in Russia include BMW, Kia, Hyundai and Chinese Great Wall, and bus projects by Scania and Volvo. The major obstacle to successful development of foreign assembly projects in Russia is the lack of local component suppliers.

In 2005, the Russian government took the decision (166 Decree) to drastically decrease import taxes for automotive components imported by OEMs under the condition to gradually achieve 30% localization within seven years of operation. The government decision envisages that import taxes will be either abolished (engines, power trains, exhaust systems, and body parts) or cut to as low as three percent (starters and spark plugs) for components supplied to assembly projects. In 2006, the Russian government modified the decree (566 decree) to allow tier-1 component manufacturers to import tax-free components under the condition to achieve 30% localization within 40 months.

Russian legislation offered reduced customs tariff rates on automotive parts imported by companies assembling vehicles in Russia. Many foreign auto manufacturers had taken advantage of the tariff reductions and set up assembly operations in Russia, including GM, Ford, Toyota, Peugeot, Isuzu, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Renault. The latter recently signed a purchase agreement to buy a significant share of Russian auto maker, Avotovaz. In all, about a dozen foreign car manufacturers had signed agreements to assemble vehicles on Russian soil. This helped to meet the growing demand for foreign-brand cars in Russia. Avtovaz has also been successful in obtaining the tariff benefits for its operations.

The Russian auto industry represents a major force in the domestic economy because of highly competitive pricing, but quality must improve if the industry is to maintain its position. Russian vehicle assembly and component manufacturing factories remain plagued by outdated equipment, a lack of modern technologies and inadequate management. Nonetheless, the automotive sector of Russia's economy is in better shape than many other industries. The major local automotive market players include: GAZ Group, a subsidiary of Basic Element, the largest Russian aluminum manufacturer; and Severstalauto, a former subsidiary of the leading Russian steel producer Severstal, and AutoVAZ currently controlled by the state owned Rosvooruzhenie. Those companies are successfully restructuring their automotive assets and investing in the modernization of these outdated facilities. Majority of component manufacturing assets are owned by the SOK Group.

Without a developed network of highways and service facilities, Soviet authorities essentially relegated trucking to local and short hauls, except in remote areas not having rail or ship transport. In 1986, in terms of freight turnover, trucks ranked fourth among all transportation systems, with a 6 percent share. Nevertheless, trucking had 81 percent of the tons originated by all freight transportation systems combined. This anomaly indicated that trucks were primarily used on short hauls, averaging about eighteen kilometers. Long-distance or intercity hauling was mainly by railroads and inland waterways. The agricultural sector accounted for about 80 percent of freight originated on trucks. In 1986 freight transported by trucks amounted to almost 27 billion tons originated and 488.5 billion ton-kilometers. Common carrier trucks accounted for 6.7 billion tons originated and 141 billion ton-kilometers. Trucking's most important customers were agriculture, industry, construction, and commerce.

Trucking enterprises were not able to meet the strong demand for their services. Among the contributing factors to the industry's failure were inadequate roads, inefficient traffic organization -- some 45 percent of vehicles traveled empty -- and prolonged periods of unserviceability resulting from shortages of spare parts, drivers, tires, and fuel. Even in the largest metropolitan areas, refueling and repair facilities were scarce by Western standards. In rural areas, particularly in Siberia and the Far North, such facilities were often nonexistent. Repair and maintenance of vehicles belonging to transportation enterprises (see Glossary) and collective farms (see Glossary) were performed at central facilities, which sometimes belonged to manufacturing plants. Repair was hampered by a chronic shortage of spare parts. Given the extent of poor roads, even the absence of roads, many cargo vehicles were of the rugged, cross-country type, with allwheel traction similar to those used by the armed forces as tactical vehicles. Many vehicles were specially designed for cold weather operations.

With the development of a private sector and the privatization of local trucking enterprises, freight began shifting from the slow-moving and increasingly expensive rail carriers to the highways. Also, the number of privately owned vehicles on the roadways was increasing. Russia's road system, already crumbling in many areas, were being pushed to the breaking point under this increase in vehicular traffic, with massive rehabilitation and repair work needed.

http://analytics.ex.ru/cgi-bin/txtnscr.pl?node=43&txt=527&lang=2&sh=1">From the history of transport construction in Russia

Russian Road History

Roads reflect centuries. Roads, big and small, were the arteries and capillaries of the development of towns and countries. Good roads were an important factor of progress. On the contrary, when roads fell into decay, whole countries, even empires went to rack and ruin. Thousands upon thousands of nameless builders laid out roads in the sweat of their brow. And today we are using the fruits of their labour, hardly thinking of them at all.

The history of road construction in Russia goes down into the deep past. Prince Vladimir of Kiev (980-1015) ordered to build roads and bridges. The Lavrentyev Chronicle contained his order, actually the first document pertaining to road construction in Ancient Rus. At the time taxes were levied for bridge building, their sum depending on the length of the bridge and the number of piers. The lands of Kievan Rus were gathered around the trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks", which connected Scandinavia with Byzantium.

The lack of roads retarded the unification of Russian princedoms. But at the same time it protected them from attacks by numerous conquerors. Local dirt roads were bumpy and very uncomfortable. This was why princes preferred to travel in winter time along frozen marshes, lakes and rivers, going round their possessions and collecting taxes.The large bridge over the Dnieper River built on the order of Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125) in Kiev, and the Novgorod Bridge over the Volkhov River with 22 piers looked like fairy-tale miracles. The first stone bridge over the Neglinka River in Moscow was built in 1367.

The development of Moscow as "the third Rome" was accompanied by the formation of a system of land roads of the Russian state. From the middle of the 15th century the capital was connected with other towns by horse-drawn coaches. Long roads came into being: Tverskaya, Yaroslavskaya, Mozhaiskaya, as well as transit roads to Nizhni Novgorod, Kazan and Tula. In the late 16th century foreign travellers, before going to Russia, acquainted themselves with "Russian Dorozhnik" - a description of roads in Moscovy. A special department was set up in charge of roads and coaches, a rather heavy tax for their upkeep was introduced, and coach settlements and inns began to be opened. Local residents were ordered to maintain roads, bridges and log-paths in proper condition. The width of their carriage-way should have been no less than 3.2 meters.

With the accession to the throne of the Romanov dynasty, trade and handicrafts began to develop more rapidly, and consequently, reliable ways of communication acquired greater importance. Work was carried on on a regular basis to put in order roads, bridges, coaches, as well as road and coach taxes. A direct government tax was introduced. The width of carriage-way was increased to 6.39 metres for main roads and 4.7 meters for country roads.

In 1665 postal service was instituted in Russia on the initiative of A.L. Ordin-Nashchokin (1605-1680), a state and military figure. During the reign of Peter the Great (1672-1725) road and coach transport development took a great stride forward. A central government department in charge of the matter was set up, and special local commissars supervised the maintenance of roads and bridges in the provinces. In 1705 he issued an order to make cobblestone roads in Moscow. In 1722 he decreed the construction of a road from St.Petersburg to Moscow. In summer the journey took up to five weeks, in winter only three days. The project was abandoned after his death. However, during the reign of his niece, Empress Anna Ioannovna, work on it was resumed. In 1746, regular traffic began on this road, about 800 kilometer-long. Postal stations were opened along it. Later, during the 1840s, the Nikolayevskaya railway line was constructed between the two cities, which passed through the same places.

Under Empress Catherine the Great road construction received a further impetus. In 1786 a special commission on roads was organized. The Empress ordered to build a road in West Siberia, right up to the town of Tobolsk and open postal stations along it. A stone carriageway on the St.Petersburg - Moscow road began to be laid out, but it was not finished due to a budget deficit.

Roads were built in an area north of the Black Sea under the supervision of Governor General, Prince G.A. Potyomkin. After the conquest of the Caucasus the construction of a road across the Main Caucasian Range began, which was later called the Military Georgian Road. It was opened for travelling in 1799.

A project of laying out a strategic highway in western frontier military districts with a total length of 2,900 kilometres was evolved in 1873. However, its realization was dragged out. During the 1880s, St.Petersburg - Pskov - Warsaw, Moscow - Brest - Warsaw, Kiev - Brest, and some other highways were built. The entire programme was completed by 1908. In the Crimea, too, extensive road construction took place. The Military Georgian Road was improved. By the end of the 19th century there were nine roads in the Caucasus with a total length of 1,730 kilometres. In the early 20th century, another six were commissioned with a length of 1,400 kilometers.

In 1866 road-builders began to use asphalt in Russia (earlier than in England), but later the country lost its lead in this field. The construction of highways virtually stopped in the years of World War I, the 1917 revolution and the civil war which followed it.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:49:24 ZULU