- During the 19th century, the Romanov tsars initiated the building of a railway to connect St. Petersburg to Russia’s Pacific Ocean provinces. The most important section of this transport line was the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 9,289-kilometer line that connects Moscow to Vladivostok in the Primorsky Krai. The route crosses seven time zones and takes several days to complete. The railway also has connections to Ulan Bator (Mongolia), Pyongyang (North Korea), and Beijing (China). The route determined settlement patterns, particularly among ethnic Russians, across southern Siberia and the Russian Far East. During the Russian Civil War (1918–1922), control of the railway proved vital to both the Bolsheviks and their White adversaries. Due to its historic nature, the railroad is popular among tourists and transportation enthusiasts. Much of the line is in disrepair, and the federal government has committed to upgrading the rail network to better facilitate the transportation of goods from East Asia (particularly Japan and China) to the European Union via Russia. The rise in oceanic piracy has provided further stimulus to improve land-based links between the Pacific Rim and Europe.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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