‘Road of death’: Grim history behind transport building riddle
The debilitating cold of the Yamalo-Nenets region has for decades taught authorities that building a permanent transport infrastructure there is mission impossible.
It is no coincidence that part of the region's name, Yamal, means “the end of the Earth” in the local language. The surface is blasted by blizzards in winter and melts into swamps in summer.
The last attempt to conquer the area dates back to the times of Stalin’s Gulag. Started in 1949, tens of thousands of Gulag prisoners toiled in summer heat and Arctic cold on Stalin's dream of a transpolar railway line.
So brutal were the conditions that thousands of people starved to death or were shot by their captors. In 1953, the project was abandoned.
Now, with enormous gas and oil reserves discovered in the far north, the commitment again has been made to put huge money and resources towards the road and rail building this time. Will the campaign be successful this time? RT’s team takes a look.