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Video: Unfulfilled projects of the USSR: from the Palace of Soviets and "Taiga" to "Energia-Buran"
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
The Soviet Union was great for large-scale projects. Among them are reservoirs that have swallowed up previously inhabited territories, hydroelectric power plants that have blocked great rivers, giant coal mines, the size of a city, etc. Today, they are all taken for granted. People no longer think of other pictures of the world around them.
Projects that did not come true
There were also projects in the Soviet plans that, having excited public opinion, remained in memory as an example of ambitious projecting or thoughtless initiative. This, first of all, can be attributed to the project of diverting the flow of Siberian rivers to the republics of Central Asia.
The initiators of the project proposed building a large navigable canal from the Ob to Uzbekistan. He was supposed to provide Uzbek cotton growers with water and save the Aral Sea. In addition to this channel, it was proposed to turn back the Irtysh. Direct its waters to the arid regions of Kazakhstan. A special hydroelectric complex, pumping stations, a canal and a huge reservoir were supposed to provide this venture.
In 1985, the USSR Academy of Sciences declared the project untenable due to its dangerous consequences for the environment. All work was stopped. It was rumored that the decision of the academicians was influenced by the unsuccessful implementation of the "Taiga" project, half-forgotten by the general public. He was supposed to replenish the waters of the shallow Caspian. The "Taiga" project provided for a canal to connect the Pechora and Kolva rivers in the Perm Territory. For this, 250 nuclear explosions were planned! The first three of them carried radioactive fallout outside the USSR in 1971.
An international scandal arose. The Soviet Union was accused of violating the Moscow Treaty Banning Nuclear Testing in Three Environments. The project was closed, leaving a radioactive lake in its memory. As the saying goes, not all projects are created equal …
Several dozen such unrealized projects have accumulated over the years of Soviet power. You can also remember the construction of the Palace of Soviets in Moscow. The monumental building 415 meters high, crowned with a hundred-meter sculpture of Lenin, was planned for holding sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and other public events.
Video of the Museum of Architecture:
It was decided to build the palace on the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The temple was blown up in 1931. Eight years were spent with the foundation. Then they took up the frame of the building. A lot of money was spent. But, as it turned out, in the end they flew into the pipe, like the work of hundreds of people. Further work was prevented by the war. During the defense of Moscow, the steel structures were dismantled and used for the construction of bridges. Perhaps this is the only thing that can be considered a positive component of the project of the Palace of Soviets. Later, the world's largest outdoor winter pool "Moscow" was opened at the same place. Now there is a temple here again.
When there was not enough strength and resources
There were projects in the Soviet asset, which were prevented by the lack of the state's forces, means and technologies. The first in this row is the Crimean Bridge. They thought about him even under the tsar. They built it under Stalin, but failed. The pillars of the bridge were blown apart by the very first ice drift. It became possible to implement this project only in the new century.
Having coped with this task, we remembered about Sakhalin Island. In the post-war years, they tried to connect it with the mainland through an underwater tunnel. Almost 30 thousand prisoners were involved in the work. After Stalin's death, people were freed from punishment, and the construction site was abandoned.
The Crimean success persuaded the Russian government to build a bridge from the mainland to Sakhalin instead of a tunnel. From it they decided to make another transition through the La Perouse Strait to the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The bridge to Sakhalin and the railway approaches to it were estimated at more than 500 billion rubles.
The high cost of the project dampened the enthusiasm of government officials. They did not abandon the construction of the bridge, but entrusted its development to the Russian Railways company, already overloaded with projects at BAM, in Siberia, with plans for high-speed highways.
As Nikolai Mitrofanov, deputy chief engineer of the project of the Giprostroymost Institute, recently announced in the media, the bridge to Sakhalin will be primarily intended for solving geopolitical problems - increasing the connectedness of territories. Its carrying capacity at the first stages of operation will amount to 9.2 million tons per year.
In other words, the developers took the path of making the project cheaper. Now only one railway track will be built. This, of course, will diminish the plans - to drive cargo to Japan. However, things got off the ground. The bridge to Sakhalin is included in infrastructure projects that fall under the resources of the National Wealth Fund.
Another ambitious project of the Soviet era is being implemented now - the transpolar highway. True, now it has changed its name to the Northern Latitudinal Passage. The original Soviet project envisioned a railway from the shores of the Barents Sea to the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk and Chukotka. Then we limited ourselves to the Chum - Salekhard - Korotchaevo - Igarka segment, but it was not mastered in full.
The revived project of the Northern Latitudinal Passage is more fortunate in our time. It is included in the Strategy for the Development of Railway Transport in the Russian Federation until 2030. Last August the MosOblTransProekt company practically completed geological and geodetic surveys at the objects of the course. Its separate sections are under construction. According to the plans already drawn up, the highway should be commissioned in 2023.
Ahead of time
You can also give examples of projects useful for the country, for which the Soviet forces did not have enough. Among them there are those who were simply ahead of their time. The first in this series can be called the Mars colonization project. In the romantic years of space exploration, scientists believed that Soviet scientific bases would be built on this planet by the end of the 20th century.
This was going on. Projects of a flight to the red planet appeared back in 1959. Later, the Soviet Mars-3 spacecraft was successfully planted on it. The first flight to Mars was scheduled for June 8, 1971. On July 10, 1974, the cosmonauts were supposed to return to Earth.
Then the plans were corrected. The flight to Mars was decided to be combined with an intermediate flyby of Venus. For this task, they even proposed a project of a three-seater interplanetary spacecraft with a rocket upper stage. After the early death of chief designer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, all projects were canceled. In the new century, the colonization of Mars has become a "fix idea" for the world's space programs.
Today, at the start of the digital age, it is worth remembering the Sphinx project - an integrated communication system. It made it possible to control all home radio electronics not only from the remote control, but also by voice, to communicate with network subscribers, including in the form of online conferences.
The system consisted of a processor with three memory units and a screen, a headset, a liquid crystal or gas-plasma screen, a hand-held remote control with a removable display and a large remote control with a telephone receiver, spherical and acoustic speakers.
According to some expert estimates, the project did not reach consumers because of its high cost, but basically the failure of the Sphinx is associated with the collapse of the Union, which collapsed many promising undertakings.
Military developments stand apart among the projects ahead of their time. Among them there are those that have been implemented and are in service even today.(For example, the Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber-missile carrier with a variable sweep wing or the supersonic high-altitude all-weather long-range interceptor fighter MiG-31).
Others were less fortunate. In particular, the Spiral aerospace system. It consisted of an orbital aircraft, which was launched into space from an air launch by a booster aircraft. Then the rocket stage delivered the spacecraft into orbit.
In the late 1970s, seven successful Spiral test flights were carried out, but the system never reached service. The project was quietly closed, giving preference to the new promising development "Energia-Buran", alas, did not survive the country that created it.
One can grieve about these and other military projects that were ahead of their time and were not implemented. One thing reassures me: the work of Soviet designers was not forgotten. To one degree or another, it has been embodied in modern weapons systems.
Looking back, we can state that all three types of unrealized Soviet projects (projection, unsecured technology and the necessary means and ahead of their time) remain in our history, as attempts to make the country modern, advanced and exemplary for the world. All this to some extent justifies even the most bitter failures of past years and generations.
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