War in Ukraine: what does the Crimean bridge mean for Vladimir Putin?

War in Ukraine: what does the Crimean bridge mean for Vladimir Putin?

Nicholas Tonev

The Crimean bridge linking Russia to the peninsula annexed to Ukraine’s detriment in 2014 was partially destroyed by an explosion on Saturday that Moscow attributes to a truck bomb. For Vladimir Putin, this key infrastructure has economic and geopolitical symbolism.

ANALYZE

Moscow says it will take two months for Russian authorities to restore the Crimean Bridge, which was badly damaged after a truck bomb exploded. If road and rail traffic resumed well on the bridge, then beyond the strategic side, this attack is also symbolic for Vladimir Putin.

This bridge is the embodiment of the visions of the Kremlin chief. At the geostrategic level, after the annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin lord decided to build the bridge in violation of international law. It allows the Azov Sea to be privatized at the expense of Ukraine, whose boats have been confiscated by the Russian authorities on several occasions.

A Putin object

On a personal level, too, the bridge is a typical Putin object. Vladimir Putin presided over the two inaugurations of the bridge, in 2018 for the roads and in 2019 for the railways. The beneficiary of the 3 billion from construction is Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of the Kremlin chief who became a multi-billionaire thanks to generous public contracts signed without tender, including that of the Crimean Bridge. In the Putin system, in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of Russia’s strongmen, faits accomplis are necessary to ensure their support.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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