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Academician backs mega transport corridor to connect Europe, Asia

The president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Fortov, has thrown his weight behind a new Trans-Eurasian Development Belt project to connect Europe and Asia from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

"We must support this project, not only because of our pragmatic interests but in substance," Fortov said after a session of the academy's presidium that had discussed the concept to create a powerful transport corridor connecting Europe and Asia with a maximum development of Russia's Siberia and Far East.

"The project is costly, but it gives decisive prospects on all vectors of development," the academician said. Fortov said the mega project would give jobs to many sectors of science and would keep busy a huge number of scientific institutes, especially in the east of Russia.

"Science-on-demand is the main thing for the moment. With science in demand, 98 percent of our problems will go," Fortov said. "When we enter the stage of real scientific competition, we always win," he added.

In reply to reporters' queries after presenting the project, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin said he had voiced "the research and practice concept" of his mega project. "It was important to have the scientific concept approved by the Academy of Sciences to be then presented in a new appearance to concerned bodies of state administration," he said.

The Trans-Eurasian Development Belt is also a political and social project. Along with Yakunin, its other co-authors are the director of the Academy of Science's Institute for Social and Political Studies Gennady Osipov, and Moscow University Rector Viktor Sadovnichy.

Drawing reporters' attention to the importance of the project for the development of Siberia and the Far East, Sadovnichy said up to 30 talented young people were leaving these regions after leaving school.

The project envisages not only railways, but also pipelines for gas, oil, water and electricity, as well as all types of communication from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. In case the idea is translated into practice, up to 15 industrial sectors will be created and give jobs to a huge number of people, and new cities will be built.

According to Yakunin, the implementation of such major projects may give a new quality to global economy, and even pull the world out of a global economic crisis.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 11Mar14]

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