The proposal comes from the Russian Security Council.
The country is experiencing a serious economic downturn and the federal budget is increasingly in squeeze. That, however, does not prevent the Security Council from proposing a grand investment in the development of a new logistical scheme across the Arctic.
The proposal, branded «United Eurasia», has a price tag of $220-240 billion, newspaperKommersant reports.
The transport-logistics scheme includes the establishment of transport corridors based on the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur railways and the Northern Sea Route.
The idea comes from researcher Aleksandr Nekipelov and was presented to Deputy Premier Arkady Dvorkovich by Security Council Secretary Vladimir Nazarov, Kommersant writes. The proposal reportedly has support from Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Academy of Science and Presidential Adviser Igor Levity.
Helping to develop Siberia and Russian Far East
A key component in the plan is to apply airships across the Northern Sea Route. They are cheap to build and can operate over long distances, the project developers say.
The «United Eurasia» will help develop Siberia, the Far East and the Arctic and thus bring the country to a new social and economic level, the project description reads. China, the USA and EU will be invited to take part.
The use of airships in the Arctic is not a new idea. In 2014, a Russian governmental commission proposed to deploy a series of airships, designed for surveillance of Arctic oil installations and military objects. The flying objects should be equipped with thermal cameras, laser devices, radio locators and video cameras, a report from the Military-Industrial Commission, obtained by Izvestia, argued.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: What does closure of Canadian Arctic port mean for shipping?, Blog by Mia Bennett
China: Chinese company mulls more Arctic shipping, Barents Observer
Iceland: Calls for action at Arctic shipping conference, Alaska Dispatch News
Norway: Arctic shipping – The myths, the realities & the challenges ahead, Eye on the Arctic
Russia: Korean shipping industry watching Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Developing quieter supersonic airliners in Sweden’s Arctic, Radio Sweden
United States: World’s largest blimp headed for Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News