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Russia's 13 Plans for 2019-2024
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Recently, the Russian government published its 25.7 trillion ruble ($390 billion) plan for the years 2019-2024 [pdf] – Putin’s fourth Presidential term – for socio-economic development.

This is a quick summary on the request of a reader.

PS. Numbers are given using one USD = 60 rubles conversion. All end dates, unless otherwise indicates, refer to 2024.

***

Healthcare [$30 billion]

This program aims to improve mortality from diseases of the circulatory system, dropping it by a quarter. While Russia has seen major improvements on this score (dropping from ~900/100,000 in the early 2000s to 575/100,000 by 2018, it still has a long way to go; typical rates in the EU are well less than 200/100,000.

On the other hand, the goal of lowering infant mortality from 5.5/1,000 in 2017 to 4.5/1,000 by 2024 has already been half achieved (see above).

There is a major emphasis on improving hospital accessibility and prophylactic care.

There’s even a goal of quadrupling medical equipment exports from $250 million to $1 billion annually (while that’s almost a rounding error in terms of Russian exports, this would presumably imply developing a domestic medical equipment industry – could this be a protective measure against the prospect of ramped up US sanctions?).

***

Education [$10 billion]

  • Nothing really of note – upgrading schools, more IT, etc. (Probably a good thing as marginal returns to more education spending decline steeply).
  • Rise from 17th to 10th in Top 500 list of world universities

***

Demographics [$50 billion]

Goals include increasing healthy life expectancy, increasing the fertility rate to 1.7 children per woman (this would actually fall short of the figures reached in 2013-16; though it does tally with my prediction for the early 2020s), increasing participation in sports.

However, in terms of spending, the vast bulk of the spending – around 90% of it – will go specifically on financial support for families with children and preschooling. There will also be mortgage rates of 6% for families with two or more children.

I looked up the details at RT Russian [Google Translate]:

From January 1, 2019, the amount of state benefits paid in connection with the birth of a child in Russia will increase. Thus, the maximum amount of monthly payments to parents whose children have not reached 1.5 years will exceed 26 thousand rubles, the minimum – 4.5 thousand rubles. At the same time, the maximum amount of maternity allowance will exceed the level of 300 thousand rubles. For at least 140 days of maternity leave, the mother will be able to get 51.9 thousand. Assistance is provided for both employed parents and unemployed. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the total funding of measures to support families with children in the next six years will amount to almost 2.7 trillion rubles. …

This type of assistance from the state is more designed for employed parents, since the amount of the benefit should be 40% of the average earnings for the two previous calendar years per one month. The marginal bases for calculating insurance contributions to the Social Insurance Fund for 2017 and 2018 are 755 thousand rubles and 815 thousand rubles.

Essentially, this represents an intensification of the pro-natalist policies that Russia has been pursuing for a decade now. This seems similar to trends in Hungary. Let’s see if it works.

***

Culture [$2 billion]

  • Upgrading museums, libraries, etc.

***

Roads [$80 billion]

  • General points on improving roads, building new roads, reducing congestion, etc.

  • Reduce mortality from accidents by a factor of 3.5x.
    • It is falling rapidly, as I point out, but reducing it from 12.8/100,000 to 3.7/100,000 would make Russia as safer as Spain (and safer than Germany). I don’t think that’s close to realistic.
    • Graph above (blue line) shows Russian transport deaths / 100,000 people from 1990-2018.

***

Housing & Urban Environment [$15 billion]

  • Make accommodating accessible to middle-income families (new apartments to be available with <8% mortgage rates from today’s 10.6%)
  • Increase housing construction to 120 million sqm per year (currently 79 million sqm).
  • Substantial funding for ongoing program of beautification of the urban environment.

***

Ecology [$65 billion]

  • Not a typo. This seems a remarkably high number for ecological spending, especially for Russian standards. With this level of investment I think it should become First World in this sphere by 2025.
  • First priority, to which $5 billion is allocated, is “effective disposal of waste… including liquidation of all unsanctioned landfills within city borders.”
  • Almost $10 billion on just the clean air program.
  • $4 billion on clean water.
  • 60% of spending on “adoption of the most modern technologies”

***

Science [$10 billion]

  • Russia to enter Top 5 countries in terms of internationally indexed articles in priority spheres. (Skeptical; Russia is currently 12th in terms of articles published, and 18th on the Nature Index).
    • Unfortunately, they don’t really clarify which precise index they use whenever they talk of international rankings.
    • However, spending here is pretty meager, so I am skeptical about chances of success.
  • Tripling numbers of “world-class” scientific/educational institutes from 5 to 15.
  • Doubling Russian scientific journals in Web of Science from 260 to 500.
  • Increase percentage of researchers <39 years from 43% to 50% by 2024.

***

S&M Enterprises [$8 billion]

  • Increase share of individual/Small & Medium Businesses from 22.3% to 32.5% of GDP.
  • Increase credit access to S&M businesses; create entrepreneurship centers; etc.

***

Digital Economy [$25 billion]

  • IT spending to rise from 1.7% to 5.1% of GDP
  • Infrastructure:
    • Increase broadband Internet access from 73% to 97% of Russian households (i.e. Scandinavian levels)
    • Increase broadband access for all significant infrastructure objects (hospitals, rural clinics, schools, etc.) to 100% by 2024.
    • 5G in almost all the one million+ population cities
    • Russia’s share of world cloud computing market to increase from 1% to 5%

***

Labor Productivity [$1 billion]

  • What it says on the tin: Increase labor productivity, management courses, etc.

***

International Trade [$15 billion]

  • Various programs to promote Russian export sector
  • Double non-resource exports from $135 billion to $250 billion
    • Machines: $33 billion to $60 billion
    • Chemicals: $17 billion to $37 billion
    • Metallurgy: $42 billion to $57 billion
    • Lumber: $10 billion to $17 billion
    • Pharmaceuticals & cosmetics: $1.4 billion to $4 billion
    • Agriculture: $22 billion to $45 billion
    • Services: $58 billion to $100 billion

***

Transport Infrastructure [$105 billion]

  • This constitutes well more than 25% of the whole program, and adding in the specialized “Roads” program, this means that transport infrastructure in total will account for 43% of total spending.
  • Roads account for highest category of spending
    • $11 billion specifically on Europe-China road routes
    • Time to travel from Moscow to Kazan or Samara by road almost halved
  • $15 billion on port expansion and construction
    • Includes replacement of 8 icebreakers
    • While all regions are to experience major expansions, my impression is that in relative terms, the biggest expansion (capacity +64.7 million tons) will occur in the Russian Arctic – makes sense, given global warming.
  • $10 billion on development of the Northern Sea Route
    • Eightfold expansion in cargo from 10 million tons to 80 million tons
  • $30 billion on railways
    • Of which $10 billion on HSR
  • $5 billion on canals
  • Almost 50% expansion in the country’s overall container moving capacity and 50%+ expansion in average speed of container shipments
  • Improvement in Logistics Performance Index from 75th in the world to 50th in the world
  • Airports
    • 35% increase in flights from 0.7 flights / capita per year to 0.95 flights per capita per year
    • See my article Overview of Russian Airports & Aircraft Construction. (PS. Jon Hellevig is writing a more comprehensive follow-up).
    • There were 105 million air passengers in Russia in 2017, so this implies there’ll be around 140 million by 2024. This would mean Russia would exceed Germany (117 million) and Japan (124 million), and come close to the UK (152 million).
    • Percentage of within-Russia flights that bypass Moscow to increase from 37% to 51%
  • Second part of the program consists of energy infrastructure
    • Modest electricity generation program.
    • Mentions the floating nuclear power plant to be installed in Chukotka this year (see Dawn of the Floating NPP)
    • Bunch of new oil and gas pipelines
    • Power of Siberia is ofc the most geopolitically interesting one and will be opened this year.
 
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  1. Thank you very much Anatoly for that write up. The large amounts of funding given to healthcare and ecology indicate that the Kremlin’s chief goal is to improve Russians’ standard of living.
    The program is overall ambitious but there are still black holes. Education and Science would benefit from extra funding. There are also many funding issues. The Russian government wants the private sector to pay for around 1/3 of the bill. Something that I doubt will happen considering the overall negative investment climate.There are many grey areas too: Siluanov opposes HSR and has tried to block fund allocations for Moscow Kazan,yet there are apparently 10 billion dollars for high speed rail construction.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I think education funding is basically adequate as is. I am very skeptical of the utility of high education funding.

    However, science funding should certainly be increased a lot further.
    , @KatakanBR
    https://rns.online/transport/RFPI-i-Siemens-investiruyut-v-skorostnuyu-zheleznuyu-dorogu-na-Urale-2019-02-15/ Siemens and RDIF will build a HSR between moscow and kazan. Seens like Siluanov´s opinion doesnt matter and there are foreign investors interested.

    I think they consider money directly from state companies (without any federal budget injections) to be "private" money

  2. These are all very good plans. Especially upgrading Russian higher education and the roads. The airport constructions also look great, although pace can be faster with SVO and DME upgrades.

    However, I don’t understand why Aeroflot doesn’t order A320NEOs and 737MAXs. These 2 planes are huge fuel savers for mid-haul flights 3-6 hours long (which are most of Aeroflot’s international “short haul” stage lengths, and domestic flights past Yekaterinburg) over the existing A320s and 737s. Furthermore, a lot of new destinations 6 to 8 hours in length can be opened with them, especially in the RFE, Eastern Siberia, and China and India in fact.

    Aeroflot’s Rossiya subsidiary should be merged into Aeroflot: Rossiya’s St. Petersburg operation should be a secondary hub for mainline Aeroflot (and number of flights expanded, especially domestic and Europe, and also a A320NEO or 737MAX flight or 2 to China and India would help).

    Likewise, Aurora should also be merged into Aeroflot so it can compete better with S7 in the RFE and can use Skyteam connections to have deeper partnerships with Korean Air, China Airlines (Taiwan), and China Eastern Airlines.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    In my (non-expert) view Aeroflot should try to make do with the fleet it has to the extent possible until production of MC-21 picks up - there should be 70 of them produced per year by 2024.

    Given current geopolitical uncertainties, relying on European aircraft seems dangerous.
    , @Philip Owen
    Russian airfares are high enough already. Reducing competition is the last thing to consider.
  3. @Swarthy Greek
    Thank you very much Anatoly for that write up. The large amounts of funding given to healthcare and ecology indicate that the Kremlin’s chief goal is to improve Russians’ standard of living.
    The program is overall ambitious but there are still black holes. Education and Science would benefit from extra funding. There are also many funding issues. The Russian government wants the private sector to pay for around 1/3 of the bill. Something that I doubt will happen considering the overall negative investment climate.There are many grey areas too: Siluanov opposes HSR and has tried to block fund allocations for Moscow Kazan,yet there are apparently 10 billion dollars for high speed rail construction.

    I think education funding is basically adequate as is. I am very skeptical of the utility of high education funding.

    However, science funding should certainly be increased a lot further.

    • Replies: @KatakanBR
    I wonder how much of the supposed budget for making "science" (any progam seeking scientific development) will be outside of the "Science project" .One example would be the non-resource Exports progam, Supporting high-tech national industries (Rostec, Rosatom, Aircraft like the MS-21) can be considered funding science.

    High speed rails and icebreakers are part of the "infrastucture" progam but these will have R&D from Russian companies and/or joint-ventures, Energy projects are also directly connected to Rosneft and Gazprom developing new tech.

    Also can you put the raw proposed values for R&D spending and its share of the GDP during the project implementation?
    , @Dacian Julien Soros
    I think that, despite being enthralled by various bestsellers claiming that "high education funding" is crap, you agree that American universities are the best, while India's university system is close to the bottom. This is despite the significant number of Indians in America, who would allow you to utter the two infamous initials. There are no cure-all recipes, but "more money" is probably the best proven intervention.
  4. @AquariusAnon
    These are all very good plans. Especially upgrading Russian higher education and the roads. The airport constructions also look great, although pace can be faster with SVO and DME upgrades.

    However, I don't understand why Aeroflot doesn't order A320NEOs and 737MAXs. These 2 planes are huge fuel savers for mid-haul flights 3-6 hours long (which are most of Aeroflot's international "short haul" stage lengths, and domestic flights past Yekaterinburg) over the existing A320s and 737s. Furthermore, a lot of new destinations 6 to 8 hours in length can be opened with them, especially in the RFE, Eastern Siberia, and China and India in fact.

    Aeroflot's Rossiya subsidiary should be merged into Aeroflot: Rossiya's St. Petersburg operation should be a secondary hub for mainline Aeroflot (and number of flights expanded, especially domestic and Europe, and also a A320NEO or 737MAX flight or 2 to China and India would help).

    Likewise, Aurora should also be merged into Aeroflot so it can compete better with S7 in the RFE and can use Skyteam connections to have deeper partnerships with Korean Air, China Airlines (Taiwan), and China Eastern Airlines.

    In my (non-expert) view Aeroflot should try to make do with the fleet it has to the extent possible until production of MC-21 picks up – there should be 70 of them produced per year by 2024.

    Given current geopolitical uncertainties, relying on European aircraft seems dangerous.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
    Yeah, I didn't take geopolitics into account. I was mostly looking at them as a standalone airline company. But from a geopolitics standpoint, as I think I mentioned in another thread, that Aeroflot's entire business plan is actually pretty dangerous, given how much its hedging in the EU market. I guess at least a good one-third of its current customer base are connecting passengers between Europe and East Asia, the Middle East (especially Israel), and to a lesser extent New York City.

    For example, when I was checking in for my Aeroflot flight to Moscow, I heard Chinese tourists mention London, Vienna, Munich, Prague, and Istanbul as just some of their final destinations.

    The MC-21 still needs to prove itself in capability, performance, reliability, maintenance, and the ability to be mass produced.

  5. @Anatoly Karlin
    In my (non-expert) view Aeroflot should try to make do with the fleet it has to the extent possible until production of MC-21 picks up - there should be 70 of them produced per year by 2024.

    Given current geopolitical uncertainties, relying on European aircraft seems dangerous.

    Yeah, I didn’t take geopolitics into account. I was mostly looking at them as a standalone airline company. But from a geopolitics standpoint, as I think I mentioned in another thread, that Aeroflot’s entire business plan is actually pretty dangerous, given how much its hedging in the EU market. I guess at least a good one-third of its current customer base are connecting passengers between Europe and East Asia, the Middle East (especially Israel), and to a lesser extent New York City.

    For example, when I was checking in for my Aeroflot flight to Moscow, I heard Chinese tourists mention London, Vienna, Munich, Prague, and Istanbul as just some of their final destinations.

    The MC-21 still needs to prove itself in capability, performance, reliability, maintenance, and the ability to be mass produced.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Aeroflot getting tussled out of Europe would open up spare capacity to service internal routes, making moot the fleet's depreciation between now and the pick up in MC-21 production during the mid-2020s.
  6. @AquariusAnon
    Yeah, I didn't take geopolitics into account. I was mostly looking at them as a standalone airline company. But from a geopolitics standpoint, as I think I mentioned in another thread, that Aeroflot's entire business plan is actually pretty dangerous, given how much its hedging in the EU market. I guess at least a good one-third of its current customer base are connecting passengers between Europe and East Asia, the Middle East (especially Israel), and to a lesser extent New York City.

    For example, when I was checking in for my Aeroflot flight to Moscow, I heard Chinese tourists mention London, Vienna, Munich, Prague, and Istanbul as just some of their final destinations.

    The MC-21 still needs to prove itself in capability, performance, reliability, maintenance, and the ability to be mass produced.

    Aeroflot getting tussled out of Europe would open up spare capacity to service internal routes, making moot the fleet’s depreciation between now and the pick up in MC-21 production during the mid-2020s.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
    Once Iran-level sanctions occur, while Aeroflot won't be completely thrown out of Europe, my estimate that it will continue to operate at around 1/4 of its current capacity there. There's still flights from Tehran to most of the major European cities, albeit at low frequencies.

    But its not just the European network that will be affected: Its flights to East Asia, Delhi, and Israel will also have to be slashed once the European network is reduced to said capacity, and Aeroflot won't be anywhere near US airspace once that occurs of course.

    As I said, Aeroflot will be the most affected major Russian company by Iran-level sanctions.

  7. @Anatoly Karlin
    Aeroflot getting tussled out of Europe would open up spare capacity to service internal routes, making moot the fleet's depreciation between now and the pick up in MC-21 production during the mid-2020s.

    Once Iran-level sanctions occur, while Aeroflot won’t be completely thrown out of Europe, my estimate that it will continue to operate at around 1/4 of its current capacity there. There’s still flights from Tehran to most of the major European cities, albeit at low frequencies.

    But its not just the European network that will be affected: Its flights to East Asia, Delhi, and Israel will also have to be slashed once the European network is reduced to said capacity, and Aeroflot won’t be anywhere near US airspace once that occurs of course.

    As I said, Aeroflot will be the most affected major Russian company by Iran-level sanctions.

    • Replies: @peanut
    Wouldn't sanctions on Aeroflot introduce restrictions on use of Russian airspace for the sanctioning countries' airlines? Have fun paying out the ass for longer flights, or book a flight on competitors without the restrictions.
  8. Education [$10 trillion]

    Per student education spending is increasing a lot, because of fall of students’ numbers. Compare news of number of students passing exams last year – with the number of 10 years ago. There are far less students in the schools, so per student funding is improving all the time (as well as ratio of teachers, equipment, etc).

    Demographics [$50 billion]

    At least this money which will be distributed relative to population, and majority distributed outside Moscow.

    Make accommodating accessible to middle-income families (new apartments to be available with <8% mortgage rates from today’s 10.6%)
    Increase housing construction to 120 million sqm per year (currently 79 million sqm).

    Construction industry doesn’t need money support. It needs regulations.

    For example, – new regulation: “we cannot build multistorey projects without modelling effects on traffic flow.”

    They need to model the traffic flow, and the effect of parked cars, before they build the anthills.

    And you can read of similar problems for new projects in other cities:

    Substantial funding for ongoing program of beautification of the urban environment.

    It needs to be equally distributed in many different cities.

    But the money for this is best generated by increasing the tourist flow.

    Almost $10 billion on just the clean air program.

    Simple way for the government to at least slightly improve some situations, is more funding for continued conversion of coal stations to gas stations (.i.e to accelerate the process which has been ongoing for decades). Although that is far more China’s problem.

    What is the most important for government’s role, is far more regulation. And in the deeper level it requires more economic diversification.

    For example, we read lot about the black skies in Krasnoyarsk. Who is responsible? For example, Deripaska’s aluminum plant is the worse polluter of Krasnoyarsk – and it’s within 5 kilometres of mass housing areas there. In other countries, I believe, they would move this further away from the city.

    Another infamous example is Chelyabinsk – fate of the air there is mainly just a few businessmen, who are allowed to constantly expand new mining, as well as many factories around the city (while of course they do not live in the city, and some of the particular businessmen you read for pollution in Chelyabinsk , are famous for annoying their British neighbours in London with house renovations).

    $4 billion on clean water.

    This could be sufficient to create a clean water supply for one or two large cities. So I wonder if they spend $2 billion in a large metropolis like Ekaterinburg, they could create a clean tap water supply (which you can drink) – I wonder.

    Power of Siberia is ofc the most geopolitically interesting one and will be opened this year.

    And Turkish stream (with extensions through Serbia and Hungary, to Austria). And Northern stream. This will have geopolitical implications increasing leverage with Europe.

  9. $30 trillion???

    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    Roubles, not dollars.
  10. @E. Harding
    $30 trillion???

    Roubles, not dollars.

  11. @Swarthy Greek
    Thank you very much Anatoly for that write up. The large amounts of funding given to healthcare and ecology indicate that the Kremlin’s chief goal is to improve Russians’ standard of living.
    The program is overall ambitious but there are still black holes. Education and Science would benefit from extra funding. There are also many funding issues. The Russian government wants the private sector to pay for around 1/3 of the bill. Something that I doubt will happen considering the overall negative investment climate.There are many grey areas too: Siluanov opposes HSR and has tried to block fund allocations for Moscow Kazan,yet there are apparently 10 billion dollars for high speed rail construction.

    https://rns.online/transport/RFPI-i-Siemens-investiruyut-v-skorostnuyu-zheleznuyu-dorogu-na-Urale-2019-02-15/ Siemens and RDIF will build a HSR between moscow and kazan. Seens like Siluanov´s opinion doesnt matter and there are foreign investors interested.

    I think they consider money directly from state companies (without any federal budget injections) to be “private” money

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Did you even read your article? Since when is Kazan in the Urals? The agreement that you show is non binding. The probability of Ekaterinburg Chelyabinsk HSR happening is small.
  12. @Anatoly Karlin
    I think education funding is basically adequate as is. I am very skeptical of the utility of high education funding.

    However, science funding should certainly be increased a lot further.

    I wonder how much of the supposed budget for making “science” (any progam seeking scientific development) will be outside of the “Science project” .One example would be the non-resource Exports progam, Supporting high-tech national industries (Rostec, Rosatom, Aircraft like the MS-21) can be considered funding science.

    High speed rails and icebreakers are part of the “infrastucture” progam but these will have R&D from Russian companies and/or joint-ventures, Energy projects are also directly connected to Rosneft and Gazprom developing new tech.

    Also can you put the raw proposed values for R&D spending and its share of the GDP during the project implementation?

    • Replies: @Kimppis
    Anatoly, thanks a lot for this summary. I tried to translate some parts of the document with Google Translate (I started studying Russian a while ago though), and it seems I wasn't too far off.

    I might be totally wrong (very likely in this case), but it seems R&D spending's share of the GDP will remain roughly the same as now, which is around 1.1% of GDP but it will obviously grow in absolute terms due to economic growth. (I just remember seeing a chart like that, maybe.)

    Wouldn't be surprising, as that is still the case in the whole Southern and Eastern Europe (including countries like Italy and Spain), seemingly with VERY few, if any, exceptions. Heck, looking at Wikipedia, Britain also spends comparatively little on R&D for some reason, so I'm not entirely convinced the numbers are fully comparable between different countries.
  13. $30 *trillion* for healthcare? Shouldn’t that be $30 *billion*?

    AK: Yes, first two items were mistakenly given as trillions instead of billions for whatever reason. I fixed that just now.

  14. Karlin, is there anything new about who succeeds Putin since the last time you wrote about it?

  15. @KatakanBR
    https://rns.online/transport/RFPI-i-Siemens-investiruyut-v-skorostnuyu-zheleznuyu-dorogu-na-Urale-2019-02-15/ Siemens and RDIF will build a HSR between moscow and kazan. Seens like Siluanov´s opinion doesnt matter and there are foreign investors interested.

    I think they consider money directly from state companies (without any federal budget injections) to be "private" money

    Did you even read your article? Since when is Kazan in the Urals? The agreement that you show is non binding. The probability of Ekaterinburg Chelyabinsk HSR happening is small.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    https://www.znak.com/2019-02-18/proekt_vsm_chelyabinsk_ekaterinburg_potrebuet_278_mlrd_rubley_iz_byudzhetov_dvuh_regionov

    The conditions have become known, on which Siemens is ready to enter the draft of the Ural high-speed highway between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg within the framework of an agreement that Siemens, RDIF and HP Urals High-Speed ​​Highway signed at the end of last week. According to Kommersant, the German consortium, which includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bahn, is ready to participate technologically in the project, as well as help with borrowing from German credit institutions.

    “The construction cost will amount to 344 billion rubles, we need a capital grant from the federal budget for 231 billion rubles, as well as another 278 billion rubles from the budgets of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions until 2050,” Kommersant reports with reference to the new version of the financial model of the VSM project Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg.

    The prospect of a capital grant depends on the project getting into the main plan: now it is not there, but in October 2018, Dmitry Medvedev instructed to work out the issue. The Ministry of Transport clarified that this did not happen on February 15.

    The HSR Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg project was previously valued at 380 billion rubles. It was assumed that half of this amount under the concession agreement will allocate the federal budget, the rest will invest investors.
    Share

    As you can see, Siemens and DB will finance part of the project only if the government and the regions shoulder most of the cost. MinFin doesn't want to give the money and the regions don't have the budget to pay the required amount.

    , @KatakanBR
    Sorry i was thinking of the Kazan rail when i typed that, still the Kazan project is already progessing and the Urals one will most likely start soon.

    Both projects prove that the 2 main obstacles for these rails have been overcome: Siluanov´s disapproval and no private and/or foreign funding.

    Where does it say it is non-binding? Of course they dont have 100% of the project hammered out but even the federal goverment doesnt expect the implementations of Federal projects to have immediate impact (they expect the start of the work on the national projects in 2019 to boost the economy in 2020)
  16. @Swarthy Greek
    Did you even read your article? Since when is Kazan in the Urals? The agreement that you show is non binding. The probability of Ekaterinburg Chelyabinsk HSR happening is small.

    https://www.znak.com/2019-02-18/proekt_vsm_chelyabinsk_ekaterinburg_potrebuet_278_mlrd_rubley_iz_byudzhetov_dvuh_regionov

    The conditions have become known, on which Siemens is ready to enter the draft of the Ural high-speed highway between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg within the framework of an agreement that Siemens, RDIF and HP Urals High-Speed ​​Highway signed at the end of last week. According to Kommersant, the German consortium, which includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bahn, is ready to participate technologically in the project, as well as help with borrowing from German credit institutions.

    “The construction cost will amount to 344 billion rubles, we need a capital grant from the federal budget for 231 billion rubles, as well as another 278 billion rubles from the budgets of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions until 2050,” Kommersant reports with reference to the new version of the financial model of the VSM project Chelyabinsk – Yekaterinburg.

    The prospect of a capital grant depends on the project getting into the main plan: now it is not there, but in October 2018, Dmitry Medvedev instructed to work out the issue. The Ministry of Transport clarified that this did not happen on February 15.

    The HSR Chelyabinsk – Yekaterinburg project was previously valued at 380 billion rubles. It was assumed that half of this amount under the concession agreement will allocate the federal budget, the rest will invest investors.
    Share

    As you can see, Siemens and DB will finance part of the project only if the government and the regions shoulder most of the cost. MinFin doesn’t want to give the money and the regions don’t have the budget to pay the required amount.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
    I would say the bigger priority would be for the Sapsan to be upgraded to 350 km/h from the current 250 km/h.

    I'm actually starting to think that EU-Russia relations are about to turn a corner unlike Karlin's pessimistic views that a new Cold War/Iron Curtain will be set up (see the Munich Conference for example). If this happens, then upgrading the Allegro to 350 km/h would be awesome.

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.
    , @Dmitry
    Not yet is there commitment of federal funding for this.

    Obviously, if or when there is federal funding for half, it's a good idea - and especially as a way to get more money from the federal budget to be used in the area (although profits of building the project will be going a lot to the usual few famous, most polluting oligarchs).
  17. @Swarthy Greek
    https://www.znak.com/2019-02-18/proekt_vsm_chelyabinsk_ekaterinburg_potrebuet_278_mlrd_rubley_iz_byudzhetov_dvuh_regionov

    The conditions have become known, on which Siemens is ready to enter the draft of the Ural high-speed highway between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg within the framework of an agreement that Siemens, RDIF and HP Urals High-Speed ​​Highway signed at the end of last week. According to Kommersant, the German consortium, which includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bahn, is ready to participate technologically in the project, as well as help with borrowing from German credit institutions.

    “The construction cost will amount to 344 billion rubles, we need a capital grant from the federal budget for 231 billion rubles, as well as another 278 billion rubles from the budgets of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions until 2050,” Kommersant reports with reference to the new version of the financial model of the VSM project Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg.

    The prospect of a capital grant depends on the project getting into the main plan: now it is not there, but in October 2018, Dmitry Medvedev instructed to work out the issue. The Ministry of Transport clarified that this did not happen on February 15.

    The HSR Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg project was previously valued at 380 billion rubles. It was assumed that half of this amount under the concession agreement will allocate the federal budget, the rest will invest investors.
    Share

    As you can see, Siemens and DB will finance part of the project only if the government and the regions shoulder most of the cost. MinFin doesn't want to give the money and the regions don't have the budget to pay the required amount.

    I would say the bigger priority would be for the Sapsan to be upgraded to 350 km/h from the current 250 km/h.

    I’m actually starting to think that EU-Russia relations are about to turn a corner unlike Karlin’s pessimistic views that a new Cold War/Iron Curtain will be set up (see the Munich Conference for example). If this happens, then upgrading the Allegro to 350 km/h would be awesome.

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.
     
    Why? HSR is a non-starter in Russia. Russian Railroads are very competitive and are actually profitable, but they compete with cars and highways, not airplanes.

    The hardon for HSR comes from people who don't actually use trains and don't understand their utility.
    , @Swarthy Greek
    The cost of upgrading October railway for very high speed is probably the same with building a brand new Moscow -St Petersburg line.
  18. @AquariusAnon
    I would say the bigger priority would be for the Sapsan to be upgraded to 350 km/h from the current 250 km/h.

    I'm actually starting to think that EU-Russia relations are about to turn a corner unlike Karlin's pessimistic views that a new Cold War/Iron Curtain will be set up (see the Munich Conference for example). If this happens, then upgrading the Allegro to 350 km/h would be awesome.

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.

    Why? HSR is a non-starter in Russia. Russian Railroads are very competitive and are actually profitable, but they compete with cars and highways, not airplanes.

    The hardon for HSR comes from people who don’t actually use trains and don’t understand their utility.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The trans Siberian is too long for an HSR. It is a freight railway at core. High Speed Rail is competitive more or less to 1000 km. So European Russia and the Urals maybe. Population density matters too.
  19. @AquariusAnon
    I would say the bigger priority would be for the Sapsan to be upgraded to 350 km/h from the current 250 km/h.

    I'm actually starting to think that EU-Russia relations are about to turn a corner unlike Karlin's pessimistic views that a new Cold War/Iron Curtain will be set up (see the Munich Conference for example). If this happens, then upgrading the Allegro to 350 km/h would be awesome.

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.

    The cost of upgrading October railway for very high speed is probably the same with building a brand new Moscow -St Petersburg line.

  20. I’d spend more on R&D. Does Putin plan to end the combination of restrictive fiscal and monetary policies? Or will he just keep whining that he cannot grow the economy.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I would as well. I can only hope that the paltry sums in this program will be augmented by major increases from the main budget.

    There are very ambitious technological goals outlined in these plans but I don't see how one can implement them without a sufficiently strong R&D base.
  21. Would a million person city have enough of a market willing to pay for a 220mph HSR service to make it make money without massive subsidies? Maybe a cheaper 230kph rail service with average speed of 120kph that can make time it faster to ride by train than to drive or take a bus is a better idea? Would a Moscow to SPB maglev or hyperloop be a good idea.

    • Replies: @Dmitry

    a million person city
     
    Ekaterinburg agglomeration is 2,2 million people today.
    Chelyabinsk agglomeration is 1,6 million people today.

    So domestic audience on just the two ends of the track fast - over 3,8 million people. And including the intermediate stops and population growth in the area, it will be over 4 million people.

    have enough of a market willing to pay for a 220mph HSR service to make it make money without massive subsidies?
     

    It's a fair point. So currently it's usually over 4 hours in a fast train and more over 5 or 6 hours on slower schedules. And this idea, is to have a bullet train which goes in just over 1 hours.

    It's predicting a future demand which will probably never be huge. In Chelyabinsk, there are various industries and businessmen who will use the one hour journey in a regular basis.

    For tourism, a one hour journey, makes convenient a "quick day trip", or "afternoon shopping trip".

    But there isn't great tourist demand to visit Chelyabinsk - it's not a fashionable tourist destination. It's called "cattle city" more often than "tank city", and known for its high production rate of gopniks per capita.* For most people, a couple of visits there, is enough for all your life.

    But for people in Chelyabinsk, there would be more tourist demand, for fast daytrip to Ekaterinburg.

    People who visit friends and family in Chelyabinsk don't need that much a fast train (they can go on the slow train for the weekend).

    Maybe the fast train would be helpful also as it would allow people to choose between flights from Balandino and Koltsovo.

    - -

    * Not really fair, because they also produce a lot of the most high IQ nerds from their famous lyceums.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrBBs24RDAU

  22. Maybe a cheaper 230kph rail service with average speed of 120kph that can make time it faster to ride by train than to drive or take a bus is a better idea?

    No, not a better idea. Do you actually use trains, I mean regularly and not for sightseeing purposes?

    Trains are an alternative for cars. They have several advantages over highway travel:

    a) No need to drive. Driving needs a dedicated driver and is exhausting and dangerous.
    b) Much easier for the kids to tolerate.
    c) Train travel easily accommodates the elderly and disabled.
    d) Trains have a significantly larger baggage allotment compared to passenger car.
    e) No need to make sleeping arrangements. (For overnight travel.)

    There is no urgent demand for a “120kph train” for the same reason there isn’t urgent demand for a “120kph highway”.

  23. @reiner Tor
    I’d spend more on R&D. Does Putin plan to end the combination of restrictive fiscal and monetary policies? Or will he just keep whining that he cannot grow the economy.

    I would as well. I can only hope that the paltry sums in this program will be augmented by major increases from the main budget.

    There are very ambitious technological goals outlined in these plans but I don’t see how one can implement them without a sufficiently strong R&D base.

  24. Russia to enter Top 5 countries in terms of internationally indexed articles in priority spheres. (Skeptical; Russia is currently 12th in terms of articles published, and 18th on the Nature Index)

    World Bank’s scientific and tech. journal articles indicator has Russia’s output growing considerably from 2013. It overtook Australia and Spain and was on course to overtake Korea and Italy by 2018 ( their data ends on 2016 ). Also shows a lot of euros peaking in 2013-2015 period and then slowly beginning to decline.

    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IP.JRN.ARTC.SC?locations=RU-ES-DE-GB-FR-IT&year_high_desc=true

  25. @KatakanBR
    I wonder how much of the supposed budget for making "science" (any progam seeking scientific development) will be outside of the "Science project" .One example would be the non-resource Exports progam, Supporting high-tech national industries (Rostec, Rosatom, Aircraft like the MS-21) can be considered funding science.

    High speed rails and icebreakers are part of the "infrastucture" progam but these will have R&D from Russian companies and/or joint-ventures, Energy projects are also directly connected to Rosneft and Gazprom developing new tech.

    Also can you put the raw proposed values for R&D spending and its share of the GDP during the project implementation?

    Anatoly, thanks a lot for this summary. I tried to translate some parts of the document with Google Translate (I started studying Russian a while ago though), and it seems I wasn’t too far off.

    I might be totally wrong (very likely in this case), but it seems R&D spending’s share of the GDP will remain roughly the same as now, which is around 1.1% of GDP but it will obviously grow in absolute terms due to economic growth. (I just remember seeing a chart like that, maybe.)

    Wouldn’t be surprising, as that is still the case in the whole Southern and Eastern Europe (including countries like Italy and Spain), seemingly with VERY few, if any, exceptions. Heck, looking at Wikipedia, Britain also spends comparatively little on R&D for some reason, so I’m not entirely convinced the numbers are fully comparable between different countries.

    • Replies: @KatakanBR
    If i remember correctly they expect R&D costs to be around 2% of GDP in 2021 and then it will freeze at that mark up until 2024 (but with absolute grow due to economic growth)
  26. The goals in science and education seem to be guided by rankings written by Western people. There is a risk of double standards, similar to that shown by the Winter Olympics, where the Russians athletes were deemed one peg below (here, assumed on drugs), just because they were Russians. Worse, and again similar to the Olympics, the rankers have to rank their own institutions and friends.

    I would not expect any honesty, and I would not aim to win such rigged competitions.

  27. @Anatoly Karlin
    I think education funding is basically adequate as is. I am very skeptical of the utility of high education funding.

    However, science funding should certainly be increased a lot further.

    I think that, despite being enthralled by various bestsellers claiming that “high education funding” is crap, you agree that American universities are the best, while India’s university system is close to the bottom. This is despite the significant number of Indians in America, who would allow you to utter the two infamous initials. There are no cure-all recipes, but “more money” is probably the best proven intervention.

  28. @Swarthy Greek
    Did you even read your article? Since when is Kazan in the Urals? The agreement that you show is non binding. The probability of Ekaterinburg Chelyabinsk HSR happening is small.

    Sorry i was thinking of the Kazan rail when i typed that, still the Kazan project is already progessing and the Urals one will most likely start soon.

    Both projects prove that the 2 main obstacles for these rails have been overcome: Siluanov´s disapproval and no private and/or foreign funding.

    Where does it say it is non-binding? Of course they dont have 100% of the project hammered out but even the federal goverment doesnt expect the implementations of Federal projects to have immediate impact (they expect the start of the work on the national projects in 2019 to boost the economy in 2020)

  29. @Kimppis
    Anatoly, thanks a lot for this summary. I tried to translate some parts of the document with Google Translate (I started studying Russian a while ago though), and it seems I wasn't too far off.

    I might be totally wrong (very likely in this case), but it seems R&D spending's share of the GDP will remain roughly the same as now, which is around 1.1% of GDP but it will obviously grow in absolute terms due to economic growth. (I just remember seeing a chart like that, maybe.)

    Wouldn't be surprising, as that is still the case in the whole Southern and Eastern Europe (including countries like Italy and Spain), seemingly with VERY few, if any, exceptions. Heck, looking at Wikipedia, Britain also spends comparatively little on R&D for some reason, so I'm not entirely convinced the numbers are fully comparable between different countries.

    If i remember correctly they expect R&D costs to be around 2% of GDP in 2021 and then it will freeze at that mark up until 2024 (but with absolute grow due to economic growth)

    • Replies: @Kimppis
    I hope you’re right, 2% would be very impressive actually, so much so that it sounds almost too good to be true. That would also make Russia the second highest R&D spender in Europe after Germany (in PPP).
  30. @Swarthy Greek
    https://www.znak.com/2019-02-18/proekt_vsm_chelyabinsk_ekaterinburg_potrebuet_278_mlrd_rubley_iz_byudzhetov_dvuh_regionov

    The conditions have become known, on which Siemens is ready to enter the draft of the Ural high-speed highway between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg within the framework of an agreement that Siemens, RDIF and HP Urals High-Speed ​​Highway signed at the end of last week. According to Kommersant, the German consortium, which includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bahn, is ready to participate technologically in the project, as well as help with borrowing from German credit institutions.

    “The construction cost will amount to 344 billion rubles, we need a capital grant from the federal budget for 231 billion rubles, as well as another 278 billion rubles from the budgets of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions until 2050,” Kommersant reports with reference to the new version of the financial model of the VSM project Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg.

    The prospect of a capital grant depends on the project getting into the main plan: now it is not there, but in October 2018, Dmitry Medvedev instructed to work out the issue. The Ministry of Transport clarified that this did not happen on February 15.

    The HSR Chelyabinsk - Yekaterinburg project was previously valued at 380 billion rubles. It was assumed that half of this amount under the concession agreement will allocate the federal budget, the rest will invest investors.
    Share

    As you can see, Siemens and DB will finance part of the project only if the government and the regions shoulder most of the cost. MinFin doesn't want to give the money and the regions don't have the budget to pay the required amount.

    Not yet is there commitment of federal funding for this.

    Obviously, if or when there is federal funding for half, it’s a good idea – and especially as a way to get more money from the federal budget to be used in the area (although profits of building the project will be going a lot to the usual few famous, most polluting oligarchs).

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Well i doubt that the project will be built at all. If a HSR line is to be built it will require federal funding. It will either be Moscow Kazan (maybe only the 1st section between Moscow and Vladimir region) or Moscow St Petersburg eventually. The government has been talking about HSR since before the fall of the Soviet Union and concrete plans emerged in the late 2000s but no one wants to give the money required. Siluanov has a lot of authority in the government ( mostly due to right reasons) and he sees hsr as a waste of funds. Still Akimov might be able to push for the 1st section of Moscow Kazan until Vladimir
  31. @KatakanBR
    If i remember correctly they expect R&D costs to be around 2% of GDP in 2021 and then it will freeze at that mark up until 2024 (but with absolute grow due to economic growth)

    I hope you’re right, 2% would be very impressive actually, so much so that it sounds almost too good to be true. That would also make Russia the second highest R&D spender in Europe after Germany (in PPP).

  32. @Ender
    Would a million person city have enough of a market willing to pay for a 220mph HSR service to make it make money without massive subsidies? Maybe a cheaper 230kph rail service with average speed of 120kph that can make time it faster to ride by train than to drive or take a bus is a better idea? Would a Moscow to SPB maglev or hyperloop be a good idea.

    a million person city

    Ekaterinburg agglomeration is 2,2 million people today.
    Chelyabinsk agglomeration is 1,6 million people today.

    So domestic audience on just the two ends of the track fast – over 3,8 million people. And including the intermediate stops and population growth in the area, it will be over 4 million people.

    have enough of a market willing to pay for a 220mph HSR service to make it make money without massive subsidies?

    It’s a fair point. So currently it’s usually over 4 hours in a fast train and more over 5 or 6 hours on slower schedules. And this idea, is to have a bullet train which goes in just over 1 hours.

    It’s predicting a future demand which will probably never be huge. In Chelyabinsk, there are various industries and businessmen who will use the one hour journey in a regular basis.

    For tourism, a one hour journey, makes convenient a “quick day trip”, or “afternoon shopping trip”.

    But there isn’t great tourist demand to visit Chelyabinsk – it’s not a fashionable tourist destination. It’s called “cattle city” more often than “tank city”, and known for its high production rate of gopniks per capita.* For most people, a couple of visits there, is enough for all your life.

    But for people in Chelyabinsk, there would be more tourist demand, for fast daytrip to Ekaterinburg.

    People who visit friends and family in Chelyabinsk don’t need that much a fast train (they can go on the slow train for the weekend).

    Maybe the fast train would be helpful also as it would allow people to choose between flights from Balandino and Koltsovo.

    – –

    * Not really fair, because they also produce a lot of the most high IQ nerds from their famous lyceums.

  33. @Dmitry
    Not yet is there commitment of federal funding for this.

    Obviously, if or when there is federal funding for half, it's a good idea - and especially as a way to get more money from the federal budget to be used in the area (although profits of building the project will be going a lot to the usual few famous, most polluting oligarchs).

    Well i doubt that the project will be built at all. If a HSR line is to be built it will require federal funding. It will either be Moscow Kazan (maybe only the 1st section between Moscow and Vladimir region) or Moscow St Petersburg eventually. The government has been talking about HSR since before the fall of the Soviet Union and concrete plans emerged in the late 2000s but no one wants to give the money required. Siluanov has a lot of authority in the government ( mostly due to right reasons) and he sees hsr as a waste of funds. Still Akimov might be able to push for the 1st section of Moscow Kazan until Vladimir

  34. @AquariusAnon
    These are all very good plans. Especially upgrading Russian higher education and the roads. The airport constructions also look great, although pace can be faster with SVO and DME upgrades.

    However, I don't understand why Aeroflot doesn't order A320NEOs and 737MAXs. These 2 planes are huge fuel savers for mid-haul flights 3-6 hours long (which are most of Aeroflot's international "short haul" stage lengths, and domestic flights past Yekaterinburg) over the existing A320s and 737s. Furthermore, a lot of new destinations 6 to 8 hours in length can be opened with them, especially in the RFE, Eastern Siberia, and China and India in fact.

    Aeroflot's Rossiya subsidiary should be merged into Aeroflot: Rossiya's St. Petersburg operation should be a secondary hub for mainline Aeroflot (and number of flights expanded, especially domestic and Europe, and also a A320NEO or 737MAX flight or 2 to China and India would help).

    Likewise, Aurora should also be merged into Aeroflot so it can compete better with S7 in the RFE and can use Skyteam connections to have deeper partnerships with Korean Air, China Airlines (Taiwan), and China Eastern Airlines.

    Russian airfares are high enough already. Reducing competition is the last thing to consider.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
    Both Aurora and Rossiya are part of the Aeroflot group. Aeroflot should streamline the operations in its group to cement itself as a world class airline.

    Ural, S7, and UTair should really step up their game and be serious domestic competitors.
  35. @anonymous coward

    Having the Trans Siberian run as a HSR would be a dream come true.
     
    Why? HSR is a non-starter in Russia. Russian Railroads are very competitive and are actually profitable, but they compete with cars and highways, not airplanes.

    The hardon for HSR comes from people who don't actually use trains and don't understand their utility.

    The trans Siberian is too long for an HSR. It is a freight railway at core. High Speed Rail is competitive more or less to 1000 km. So European Russia and the Urals maybe. Population density matters too.

  36. All this with oil at $50, high enough to keep fracking and low enough to bankrupt the Sov,,,,,uh Russia.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Oil is at around 66USD for a baril of Brent and 64 USD for Urals barrels. The Russian budget breaks even at 49 USD per barrel this year.
    , @aedib
    Hater’s wishful thinking.

    Reality check:
    Russia’s breakeven price: USD 49/Ural barrel
    Russia’s budget surplus 2018: 2.7% GDP (Average price: USD 69/Ural barrel)
    Russia’s estimated budget surplus 2018: 1.9% GDP (Average estimated price: USD 63/Ural barrel)
    US’ fracking production flat during 2019 (the bubble seems unable to grow anymore).

    I’m sorry.
  37. @Philip Owen
    Russian airfares are high enough already. Reducing competition is the last thing to consider.

    Both Aurora and Rossiya are part of the Aeroflot group. Aeroflot should streamline the operations in its group to cement itself as a world class airline.

    Ural, S7, and UTair should really step up their game and be serious domestic competitors.

  38. @athEIst
    All this with oil at $50, high enough to keep fracking and low enough to bankrupt the Sov,,,,,uh Russia.

    Oil is at around 66USD for a baril of Brent and 64 USD for Urals barrels. The Russian budget breaks even at 49 USD per barrel this year.

  39. @athEIst
    All this with oil at $50, high enough to keep fracking and low enough to bankrupt the Sov,,,,,uh Russia.

    Hater’s wishful thinking.

    Reality check:
    Russia’s breakeven price: USD 49/Ural barrel
    Russia’s budget surplus 2018: 2.7% GDP (Average price: USD 69/Ural barrel)
    Russia’s estimated budget surplus 2018: 1.9% GDP (Average estimated price: USD 63/Ural barrel)
    US’ fracking production flat during 2019 (the bubble seems unable to grow anymore).

    I’m sorry.

  40. Government spending is waste.

  41. @AquariusAnon
    Once Iran-level sanctions occur, while Aeroflot won't be completely thrown out of Europe, my estimate that it will continue to operate at around 1/4 of its current capacity there. There's still flights from Tehran to most of the major European cities, albeit at low frequencies.

    But its not just the European network that will be affected: Its flights to East Asia, Delhi, and Israel will also have to be slashed once the European network is reduced to said capacity, and Aeroflot won't be anywhere near US airspace once that occurs of course.

    As I said, Aeroflot will be the most affected major Russian company by Iran-level sanctions.

    Wouldn’t sanctions on Aeroflot introduce restrictions on use of Russian airspace for the sanctioning countries’ airlines? Have fun paying out the ass for longer flights, or book a flight on competitors without the restrictions.

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