Having devoted this issue to the Russian railroads, the journal has in a way broken its own rule—that of selecting, as far as possible, subjects of a general character so as not to restrict itself to a narrow professional interest. We have decided to break the rule this time for the following reasons. First, mobility of the population is an indispensable attribute of modern society and, considering the vastness of Russia's territory and the relative poverty of its population, only a well-developed rail network can ensure this mobility. Secondly, excessive state regulation of the economy is one of the main problems facing Russia, and the railroad industry is a huge state monopoly hardly touched by reforms. Whether it is reasonable to leave it as it is and in what way reforms should be carried out are what the contributors to this issue are debating.
Managing Railroad Transport under Market Conditions
The article offers a brief overview of the historical experience of using corporate forms of railroad transport economic management and examines key issues of shaping a modern model of managing the sector.
Difficult Parting with Monopolism
In Russia, thousands of cases of violations of antimonopoly legislation are tried every year. The state company Russian Railways (RZD), one of the country's biggest monopolists, accounts for a substantial share of these cases. Even though a number of substantial competitive parts have been separated from the company in the past few years, it continues to dominate the transportation market, which the antimonopoly authorities are incessantly combating. It is the twists and turns of this struggle that the article focuses on.
Today the Russian railroad system is in fact not ready for a substantial increase in the volume of transportation and freight exports through ports, development of commuter services in urban agglomerations and development of high-speed rail services. This situation of infrastructure limitation is particularly critical in implementing capitalintensive raw material projects when freight shippers fail to meet their contracts with their foreign partners. And yet the state programs for railroad construction and modernization of the existing networks are clearly insufficient and hopes for establishing a large-scale public-private partnership are very slim.
The Problem of Quality on Steel Thoroughfares
Quality control in rail transportation is traditionally not as effective as it is in industry, both on account of greater variety in the operation of the rail industry and because transportation as a service has no apparent material properties. The author establishes a system of indicators of the production and consumer quality of rail transportation and then, based on these indicators, makes an in-kind and cost estimation of the quality of transportation services in Russia. In the author's opinion, the inadequate quality standards of the services provided by Russian Railways is the cause of shortfalls in transport companies' incomes and, in general, of Russia's low competitiveness on the world transportation market, and restrains the development of the country's transit capacity. The article concludes with a list of top priority measures to promote radical improvement in the procedures for rail transportation quality control.
Incitement to Invention
In his interview to OZ, Sergei Kopytov, leading technologist of the technical policy service of South Ural Railways, a branch of Russian Railways (RZD), speaks about the specific features of patent work in the railroad industry. The railroad man explains why it is that hundreds make innovation proposals and only very few are granted patents, how innovation proposals can be turned into intellectual property assets and how exactly patenting of inventions proceeds.
Prospects for Moscow's Rapid Transit Happiness
It took the near-complete paralysis of transport in the Moscow region to make the authorities give some thought to the fact that the disease should be treated in a comprehensive way and not by plugging gaps. A plan to link together the Metro (subway), the Moscow circular railroad and radial railroads into a single transport system with modern transfer hubs is being developed at full speed. At the first stage, the circular railroad will be turned into a kind of overland subway, and the entire project is planned to be completed by 2020.
REFORM WAY STATION
Contours of Uncompleted Liberalization
The article focuses on the prerequisites and implementation of the program of structural reform of the Russian railroads and the problems facing the industry today. It shows that reforms have been carried out in some of the industry's segments. For example, tariffs have been liberalized in the segment of operating rolling stock and private property has emerged, which has resulted in a growth of investment in the purchase of rolling stock and an increase in rail traffic. In the other segments not affected by reforms, those of rail infrastructure and locomotive stock, state property is preserved and, as a result, they experience stagnation and shortages.
Rail Reforms in the Post-Soviet Space: Slow Progress
Some of the countries of the former Soviet Union have taken steps toward reform of the vertically integrated monopoly freight railways that they inherited following the breakup of the USSR, while in others there have been discussions but nothing more. However, even in the countries most active in reform — Russia, Kazakhstan, the Baltic countries — the reforms have taken directions different from the reform models adopted in either Europe or the Americas, and governments have insisted on maintaining a significant degree of control of the sector. Furthermore, these events have been marred by allegations of favoritism and discrimination.
Operators Should Disappear. An Interview
In the course of the railroad reform in Russia, the service of freight rail carriage has been divided between the operator providing wagons for the freight owner and the carrier responsible for the carriage of freight. Practice reveals major defects of this division leading, in particular, to a slowdown in the wagon turnover and a shortage of wagons. The service should be reunited and the operators' market should disappear. Efficient operators should become independent carriers or merge with major players by exchanging assets.
Demonopolization Is Not a Panacea. An Interview
Rail transport all over the world competes with other modes of transport but is not in itself a highly competitive sphere of business. In the situation of shortage of railroad infrastructure in Russia, demonopolization through division of the management of infrastructure and carriage services can only destabilize the industry. The way to solve the problem of efficiency and price formation is through the establishment of a reliable system of state tariff and antimonopoly regulation.
Why Has Britain Failed?
The article examines the problems of privatization of railways in Great Britain and the results of the reform. The author shows that it is not privatization itself but contradictions between the vector of the reform and the actions of the regulators that have imposed a number of restrictions on the operation of the company which have been the cause of the relative failure of the reform. The article identifies privatization risks related to government regulation of the industry, in particular, the fact that government regulation can kill the incentives and economic mechanisms for the sake of which privatization has been carried out.
DEBIT AND CREDIT
On Rail Freight Tariffs
The article deals with topical problems of establishing rates for rail freight transportation in the situation of an ongoing reform of the industry. The author analyzes the existing system of tariffs and their structure, level and differentiation by type of freight and by type of means of transportation. The article sets forth the principles of building a system of tariffs taking account of market price formation factors and identifies certain contradictions between heavy regulation of tariffs for the use of the rail network infrastructure and locomotive haulage, on the one hand, and free market price formation in the sphere of leasing rolling stock to shippers by competing operators, on the other. In the author's opinion, withdrawal of rolling stock from the monopoly environment is the most significant result of the reform in the interests of transportation service customers. The article concludes with well-reasoned proposals for adapting the freight rate management system to changes in the market situation.
Economic Notes on the Russian Railroads
In Russia, with its vast expanse of land, railroads are a key element directly influencing social and economic processes. The article, based on rich historical material, shows that both in the pre-revolutionary and in the Soviet period the growth of investments in railroad construction was invariably accompanied by a general economic upswing, whereas in crisis periods railroads acted as a kind of life buoy keeping the weakened economy afloat.
PARTS OF THE WHOLE
In Pursuit of High Speeds
The article provides a history of the failed project for building a high-speed rail line between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The idea of building high-speed lines with a train speed of higher than 200 km/h began to be developed in the USSR since the late 1960s. The period of stagnation prevented the projects from moving forward, yet the plans were revived in the late 1980s during perestroika. In 1991, RAO VSM (Russian Joint-Stock Company
High-Speed Railways) was set up by a decree of President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin, which launched a project for building a St. Petersburg - Moscow rail line with a train speed of 300 km/h and the traveling time between the two cities amounting to 2.5 hours. However, the project did not materialize for a number of subjective and objective reasons. The author, giving the main points of the story, urges the readers not to repeat in future the errors committed at the time.
Desirable and Compulsory Passengers
The article describes the activities of the Federal Passenger Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways (RZD), established a little over three years ago. The author analyzes the difficulties encountered by the company, examines the problem of compensating for the shortfall in its income, which the state shoulders, and discusses the prospects for the development of the industry.
From the Trans-Siberian Railroad to a Eurasian Corridor
The further development of the Europe-Asia transport corridor passing through Russia will largely depend on the trends of the world economy and the rates of development of the countries of the Asia Pacific Region, above all China. Calculations, however, show that, on account of the relative costliness of transportation, a rail corridor based on the Trans-Siberian Railroad can only attract a small share of freight now transported by sea. This result can be achieved by making considerable investments and removing substantial legal restrictions, which are highly unlikely. Yet Russia has internal reserves and incentives for filling and making use of this transcontinental transport corridor in the interests of the development of Siberia.
The Logistics of Snowy Routes
A key role in creating a unified Arctic Transport System is assigned by the government of the Russian Federation to the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The author analyzes the options for developing this transport corridor and notes that its optimal functioning cannot be ensured by oil transportation (in case of successful development of shelf oil deposits) and international transit alone. The consolidation of the NSR should be tied in with programs for developing water and rail transport in the polar region and the adjoining regions of the North-West, Siberia and the Far East.
Strategy for the BAM
Having described the dramatic story of the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) and its present-day decline, the author outlines the prospects for the operation of the railroad in the new social and economic conditions, which will call for substantial private and public investments that will be repaid a hundredfold as a result of development of a vast territory 1.5 million square kilometers in area adjoining the mainline, where one-fourth of Russia's reserves of lead and copper and half of its reserves of zinc are concentrated.
Locomotive Fleet of a Semi-Jurassic Period
At the beginning of 2013, RZD had a fleet of 20,619 locomotives, ranking second only to the total locomotive fleet of all the US railroads. Although the total number of locomotives now running on Russian railroads is sufficient, diesel and electric locomotives have become worn out and obsolete. Most of them were built back in the days of the USSR. In 2013, RZD ordered 770 new locomotives. However, by far not all of the new locomotives meet the world standards in machine building. Therefore, the renovation of RZD's locomotive fleet will take a long period of time —probably as many as 20 to 30 years.
Success Tinged with Failure
(F. I. Khusainov. Ekonomicheskiye reformy na zheleznodorozhnom transporte [Economic Reforms in Rail Transport]. Moscow, 2012; Strukturnaya reforma zheleznodorozhnogo transporta glazami ekspertov i gruzootpravitelei. Rezultaty oprosov. Analiz. Predlozheniya [Structural Reform of Rail Transport through the Eyes of Experts and Shippers. Findings of Polls. Analysis. Suggestions]. Ed. by M. Dmitriyev. Moscow, 2011)
Farid Khusainov's monograph Economic Reforms in Rail Transport defends the liberal transformations being carried out in the industry. According to the author, denationalization is a worldwide trend; it has historical analogies in Russia itself, where the industry was initially established as a private one. The logic of the present reform envisages vertical separation of rail infrastructure from train operations, which has already brought about an increase in commercial efficiency. The findings of polls conducted by the Center for Strategic Developments, summed up in the brochure Structural Reform of Rail Transport through the Eyes of Experts and Shippers. Findings of Polls. Analysis. Suggestions, show an assessment of the reform viewed through the eyes of its end users. As sociological findings show, end users are rather unsatisfied with the course of the reform despite the positive results so far achieved.
Without the Blinkers of the Narodniki (Populists)
(M. A. Davydov. Vserossiisky rynok v kontse XIX— nachale XXvv. izheleznodorozhnaya statistika [The All-Russian Market in the Late 19th — Early 20th Centuries and Rail Statistics]. St. Petersburg, Aleteya Publishers, 2010)
In reviewing Mikhail Davydov's book The All-Russian Market in the Late 19th — Early 20th Centuries and Rail Statistics, the author stresses that the inferences drawn in it by the historian do not fit the notions, established in historiography, about "hungry exports" of grain from Russia in the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Most historians adhered to the opinion that massive exports of grain abroad, which contributed to the modernization of Russia, were at the expense of peasants, who were constantly famished. Using statistics as a basis, Davydov shows that, while the overall wheat harvests kept growing, the share of grain being exported was steadily decreasing, and the allegations about famine are based on inaccurate territorial statistics, which were often deliberately distorted. Territorial officials, among whom Populist sentiments predominant, made every effort to emphasize that peasants were living in misery while the authorities treated this with utter indifference bordering on cruelty.
GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE INTEREST
The State and Rail Transport
The article examines the history of government regulation of railroad activities from the 19th century to this day. A retrospective overview of the state of affairs in this area before the revolution of 1917 is provided, an analysis of the causes of unsatisfactory functioning of railroads within the framework of the Soviet state-planned economy is given, and the mechanism of tariff congresses a return to which might have a positive effect on the development of the rail industry in our own day is outlined. In the author's opinion, the current self-regulation of the industry carried out by RZD in its own interests should be transformed so that it should become self-regulation by all the high-status rail transport organizations, which will serve the interests of these organizations and promote growth of the market in all of its segments.
Concession-Induced Prosperity of the Russian Railroads
The article analyzes the experience of private-public partnership over the eighty years of building and operating railroads in imperial Russia when the fundamentals of concession legislation were developed, a uniform tariff policy was introduced and technical specifications were unified. The author arrives at the conclusion that joint stock companies were a kind of catalyst that prompted the government to more vigorous steps in developing the country's rail network. However, the development of rail transport demanded huge investments which exceeded the resources of private investors; therefore the state acted as the guarantor for and main creditor of joint stock companies. As a result, it was the state that played the leading role in the development of Russian rail transport before 1917.
CONTINUING THE TALK: TALKING ABOUT TOWN
Nadezhda Zamyatina, Alexander Pilyasov
The Principle of Anna Karenina
Two oil producing twin towns in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, Muravlenko and Gubkinsky, look very much alike in everything — in their specialization, size of the population, age, and size of the municipal budget. The only thing about them that is different is the dynamics of their development: in Gubkinsky, in contrast to Muravlenko, diversification is progressing rapidly and small businesses are actively developing. It appears that the "recipe for the happiness" of a non-diversified town consists in a unique sum of institutional factors — the situation and status of the town-forming enterprises in relation to the headquarters of their corporations, the social root-edness of the local government manifesting itself in its confidence in and attention to the community of its town, and the level of development of the local identity.
THE LAND OF OZ
Where God Looks (continued)
A substantial part of Vladimir Sollertinsky's reminiscences, a fragment of which was published in the preceding issue, deals with the prison camp period of his life. In the excerpt featured in this issue of OZ, the author describes how he, together with other prisoners, built the North Pechora Railroad, which was to deliver coal from the Vorkuta coal mines to the center of the country. Written in a lively and clear style, the former prisoner's story tells us what manual logging done without any machinery was like, what cold and hunger did to people, why so many pierced skulls were found during excavations at prisoners' burial grounds, and how people remained human and preserved their free spirit in those terrible conditions.
Neither Us nor Them
The editorial board publishes a paper by the prize-winner of the 14th annual competition of historical research papers by senior high school students "Man in History: Russia, 20th Century," conducted by the International Historical, Educational, Charitable and Human Rights Society "Memorial." On the basis of the recollections of fellow villagers and a series of interviews, the author analyzes the relations among the Russians, Tatars and Mord-vins living in the polyethnic villages of Lobanovka, Novoye Kadyshevo, Vacheyevo, and Bolshiye Mor-dovskiye Poshaty in the Yelniki District, Republic of Mordovia, focusing mainly on their attitude to mixed marriages and religious feasts.
National Idea as a Product of Disintegration of the Novel as a Form
(A. V. Ponizovsky. Obrashchebiye v slukh: Roman [Being All Ears: A Novel]. St. Petersburg, Lenizdat Publishing Group, the A-Team, 2013)
A review of the novel Being All Ears by well-known TV journalist Anton Ponizovsky. The author explains the wide response to the novel by its unexpected form of narration in that its text consists mainly of real people's stories of their lives, and also that one of its characters proposes nothing less than a national idea to society.
At the Sources of Sacred Fiction
(S. V. Stakhorsky. Teatralnaya kultura Drevnei Rusi [The Theater Culture of Old Rus].
Moscow, Humanitarian Institute of Television and Radio, 2012; I. A. Nekrasova. Religioznaya drama i spektakl XVI—XVII vekov [16th — 17th Century Religious Drama and Performance]. St Petersburg, Hyperion Publishers, 2013)
The books The Theater Culture of Old Rus by S. V. Stakhorsky and 16th—17th Century Religious Drama and Performance by I. A. Nekrasova continue a reflection on the Christian theater of the Middle Ages and the New Times started long before their publication. Following Nietzsche and his adherents, the authors of the books expound on the point that the antagonism between the theater, which grew out of Dionysism, and Christianity does not rule out a connection and, even, a kind of relation between these two forms of spiritual life.