The Trans-Siberian Railway and Vladivostok | The Europe of the Far East

Throughout history, roads have either existed or we have created them. From the ocean, to the air, to transportation by land–we have created roads that have allowed us to travel, to immigrate and even to return to our origin point. Some of our journeys were short, while others were long.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is intertwined with Russian history. After years and years of struggle, mismanagement and battles with the land and the environment, the railroad was completed in 1916. It quickly became a symbol of Russian ingenuity: the railroad that allowed for travel from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. The approximately 6,000 mile long railroad is said to hold the vast country together.

The Trans-Siberian route that once bore witness to much hardship and death is now traversed by some of the world’s most well-off people. The city of Vladivostok, in particular, is a link between the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Pacific Sea routes, making it an important cargo and passenger port. It is a link between links, a link between different roads and modes of transportation. And it all boils down to location, location, location.

Most of the engines pulling the train carriages across the Trans-Siberian route are powered by electricity. Trains on long journeys, however, are heated by coal. When the train stops, conductors shovel fresh coal into an opening. During longer journeys, passengers pass the time reading.

Due to its geographical location and its Russian culture, Vladivostok has been dubbed as “Europe in the Far East”. Many foreign consulates and businesses have offices in Vladivostok and the city hosts the annual Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). On 7 September, Russian President Putin delivered a speech at the plenary session of the 2022 EEF.

The confrontation with the West over Ukraine has prompted Russia to accelerate a pivot towards Asia and particularly China, which is now the world’s second largest economy.

The Trans-Siberian Railway. Image Credit: Sorovas

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