Will the Siberian rivers flow to Uzbekistan?

The Soviet Union used to have a popular projection “to turn the flows of the Siberian rivers.” According to the idea of its authors, the Siberian rivers Ob, Irtysh, Yenisey, had to flow from the north to the south, to Central Asia. This was supposed to be a way to irrigate the dry areas of the Central Asian republics. The authors of the project believed that there was too much of water in Siberia, and it should be moved to the south.

This idea was promoted a lot back in those days. Moreover, the draft works were started, in order to make the grand plans come true. The government did not really listen to what the opponents of that idea were saying: that the projection would cost a fortune and that it would pose a huge threat to the natural balance.

However, the lack of the funds and the beginning of the transformations in the Soviet Union put an end to the idea about the Siberian rivers. Few people were mentioning that projection, and if it was mentioned, then it was like an example of complete craziness. But as it turns out, the project still has its followers nowadays.

Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov is one of them. News pieces said that the Uzbek leader was discussing that idea during his visit to Moscow last year. One cannot say, if Karimov heard something definite on the subject. But Ismail Jurabekov, Uzbekistan president’s state advisor, has recently reminded of the idea.

As he stated, moving a part of the Siberian water to Central Asia, was “a mutually beneficial projection, both for the countries of the region, and for Russia, and one had to get back to it.” Jurabekov stressed that the problem of the Aral Sea (into which the rivers were supposed to flow) was getting more and more tense, that the sea was drying out: “It is time we should listen to experts: the major problem of the Aral Sea and of the whole region is the deficit of water. There were some solutions offered before, but they were basically about shifting a part of the Irtysh and Ob rivers’ drain to the region,” – the sate advisor mentioned.

The problem of the deficit of water may result in conflicts between the republics of Central Asia, it is an open secret, as well as the fact that the ecological situation in the Aral Sea region is catastrophic. But the major question is about the consequences of the realization of the project. Will it really help? Definitely not. Russia will not gain any profit from that at all. Our country will only have another region of the ecological disaster, which will cover the half of Siberia. No matter what the Uzbek specialists say, their opinion is rather biased in this respect.

Furthermore, the realization of such a project is very expensive. Who will fund it? Russia? Or maybe Uzbekistan? Or all republics of Central Asia altogether? So, most likely, this story will end up with talks and wishes. At least, no one in Russia is seriously concerned about it. But there are doubts, so, maybe?

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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