24 years after the possibility of a connection between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe was aired for the first time, the first bridge to connect Russia and China is finally complete.
The announcement was made in the first days of December and the bridge should be inaugurated as early as the spring of 2020. This new connection is expected to bring great benefits for both countries in terms of international trade of goods as well as movement of people for tourism and business purposes.
Moreover, the move fits well within the Russian government’s intention of modernizing and opening the Eastern regions to the world. In the past few years, several initiatives have been launched to work in this direction — this is the case, for example, of the Russian eVisa for the Far East District, for which Chinese nationals are eligible.
On this page, you’ll find more information regarding:
- The new bridge between Russia and China: its history, costs, and what it means for the two nations
- Other recent steps taken by Russia to boost international relations
- Details of Russian borders.
Facts about the New Bridge between Russia and China
It was 1988 when the Soviet Union and China talked of a new era of harmony as well as boosting communications and economy in the remote areas surrounding the Sino-Soviet border. Back then, the troops of the two sides had “played the role of a bridge in helping to carry out trade and economic cooperation” to use the words of Col. Anatoly A. Saiganov.
However, the joint construction agreement for the bridge was signed in 1995, after the end of the Soviet Union. Works didn’t begin right away: the construction officially started in December 2016.
Both countries invested heavily in the project: Russian state news agency TASS reported the bridge cost 18.8 billion rubles (about $295 million). The construction works were also divided equally between Russia and China, as the bridge extends 540 meters on each side, for a total length of 1,080 meters. On top of the actual bridge, works involved creating 20 km of new roads. A Russo-Chinese company was trusted with the construction.
Why Was the New Russo-Chinese Bridge Built?
The new bridge will connect the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk and the Chinese Heihe in an effort to increase the volume of traffic between the two countries.
Speaking to Reuters, the Russian Amur’s regional governor Vasily Orlov said: “We are forming a new international transport corridor. It will allow us to fully reach our transit potential.”
Russia Is Moving the Far East Regions Forward
This is not the first measure taken in this direction. A 2,200 meter-long railway bridge connecting Nizhneleninskoye in Russia and Tongjiang city in China was finished building in early 2019 and will be opened in 2020. The bridge is designed to transport more than 3 million metric tons of cargo (especially the iron ore from Russian Kimkan open pit-mine) and 1.5 million passengers per year.
Moreover, a cross border cable car is due to be launched in 2020. It will run between Heihe and Blagoveshchensk and was designed by the Dutch UNStudio. Passengers will be able to travel between the two cities via cable car in 7 and a half minutes.
All these initiatives prove the wish of the Russian government to relaunch the most Eastern regions and boost the local economy. Chinese citizens are among the eligible passport holders who can apply for an electronic visa for the Far East District. Electronic visas were recently launched for specific Russian regions and are the easiest and fastest way to obtain a visa for Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia announced in September 2019 that major renovation works for 40 airports in the Far East region are underway. The project is expected to be delivered by 2024 and as President Vladimir Putin said: “New, modern living standards require a completely different level of mobility. For the Far East, this is, primarily, a developed network of air transportation, affordable ticket prices for flights within the region, to Siberia, Central Russia, abroad”
How Many Countries Does Russia Border?
The new bridges will make it easier and quicker to cross the Chinese border with Russia.
However, Russia is a very large country that shares a border with 14 other nations. These are Russia’s neighbor:
Unfortunately, not all of the above countries share a border with one of the specific regions the Russian electronic eVisas grant entry into. These visas only take days (if not, in some cases, hours) to be processed and allows eligible foreigners to visit:
Chinese citizens are eligible for all of the above visas, which means that they can apply online to visit any of the three aforementioned regions. Remember that the eVisa only applies to a specific region and that you will need to leave Russia from an exit point of that same area.