By Christopher J. Ward
Heralded by way of Soviet propaganda because the “Path to the Future,” the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM) represented the hopes and goals of Brezhnev and the Communist occasion elite of the overdue Soviet period. began in 1974, and spanning nearly 2,000 miles after twenty-nine years of halting development, the BAM venture was once meant to exhibit the nationwide harmony, selection, ability, expertise, and business may that Soviet socialism claimed to embody. extra pragmatically, the Soviet management expected the BAM railway as a exchange path to the Pacific, the place markets for Soviet trees and petroleum may open up, and as an engine for the improvement of Siberia.
Despite those aspirations and the big dedication of monetary assets on its behalf, BAM proved to be a boondoggle-a image of past due communism's dysfunctionality-and a merciless shaggy dog story to many usual Soviet voters. in fact, BAM was once woefully bereft of caliber fabrics and development, and victimized by way of bad making plans and an inferior staff. at the present time, the railway is absolutely whole, yet is still a logo of the profligate spending and inefficiency that characterised the Brezhnev years.
In Brezhnev's Folly, Christopher J. Ward presents a groundbreaking social historical past of the BAM railway venture. He examines the recruitment of thousands of employees from the various republics of the USSR and different socialist nations, and his broad archival examine and interviews with various venture staff supply an within examine the way of life of the BAM workforce. We see firsthand the disorganization, empty can provide, dire residing and dealing stipulations, environmental harm, and acts of crime, segregation, and discrimination that constituted way of life through the project's construction. hence, probably, we additionally see the ultimate irony of BAM: that the longest lasting legacy of this erroneous attempt to construct Soviet socialism is to shed ancient mild at the profound ills afflicting a society in terminal decline.
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Brezhnev's Folly: The Building of BAM and Late Soviet Socialism (Pitt Russian East European) by Christopher J. Ward