Strained Russia cuts money for icebreakers

An icebreaker in the Kara Sea in April 2015. Stories concerning drilling and shipping were among you're most read Eye on the Arctic stories this week. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty)
An icebreaker in the Kara Sea near Russia in April 2015. How is the economy affecting Russia’s ambitious icebreaker program? (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty)
The strained Russian economy does not allow for major investments in new icebreakers.

The icebreaker program is on the cut-list along with 41 other federal investment projects, newspaper Vedomosti informs. The list was discussed in a meeting between President Putin and key government ministers last Thursday, the newspaper writes.

The 42 projects include investment amounting to 347.3 billion rubles, of which credits were to account for 235.5 billion. 

The meeting revealed major differences in the position of the country’s Central Bank and the Ministry of Economic Development. While the former proposes to boost federal project financing in a bid to vitalize the economy, the latter wants to proceed with the cut-plan.

Major icebreaker program

As previously reported, Russia is in the process of unfolding a major icebreaker program, which includes both nuclear-powered and conventional diesel-engine vessels. The jewel in the program is the LK-60 (project 22220) icebreaker, which will be able to ship through three meter thick ice. At least two LK-60 vessels are planned built, the first one of them, the «Arktika», is to be ready for service in 2019.

Russia is also building the world’s biggest diesel-engine icebreakers, the LK-25 (project 22600). The first vessel of the kind named “Viktor Chernomyrdin” is built for the Russian state company Rosmorport and is significantly behind schedule

Related stories from around the North:

Asia:  Full steam ahead for Asian icebreakers in the Arctic this summer, Blog by Mia Bennett

Canada:  Ship trouble in the Arctic on the rise: report, Alaska Public Radio Network

China: China’s silk road plans could challenge Northern Sea Route, Blog by Mia Bennett

Finland: New Finland icebreaker can operate sideways with asymmetrical hull, Yle News

Norway:  Arctic shipping – The myths, the realities & the challenges ahead, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden:  Sweden wants lower emissions for new icebreakers, Radio Sweden

Russia:  New vessels for Russia’s Coast Guard, Barents Observer

United States: No ‘national imperative’ for icebreakers: U.S. official, Alaska Dispatch News



Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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