TUZLA ISLAND /Crimea/, March 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Crimea with mainland Russia as a "historic mission" that could not be implemented throughout the entire last century.
Speaking at a government meeting on Crimea’s Sevastopol’s socio-economic development on Friday, Putin recalled that plans to build a bridge linking the Taman and Crimean peninsulas were first initiated in 1910 under Czar Nicolas II but World War I blocked these plans.
Another attempt was made in 1930 when Soviet engineers drafted a project of a railway linking Kherson and Poti running via this section. These plans however were not realized either due to World War II.
Over the period of Nazi occupation during World War II, "Nazi invaders tried to build a bridge here," Putin said. "Their intention was to build a bridge that would last for decades and the Russian command took a decision not to bomb this section to spare what had been done."
After the war, a temporary bridge was built that was ruined by a floating ice.
"Our predecessors understood the importance of this bridge between Crimea and the Caucasus and have been trying to implement this project. Let us hope we will be the ones to fulfill this historic mission," Putin underscored.
The Russian president has suggested creating a public council for the construction of a bridge and overseeing the spending of budget funds.
It will be the analogue of a public council created prior to the Sochi Olympic Games.
"It is necessary to establish public control over the construction and observation of environmental norms; intended expenditure of funds and observation of the period of construction. I suggest creating a public council for the bridge construction," Putin told a conference on the socio-economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol at a construction site on Tuzla Island.
"The council will make it possible to make effective and open use of public knowledge as well as of experts and executive power bodies in the process of construction. It will make it possible to promptly resolve thorny issues, which are a source of people’s concern," Putin said.
He added that a similar council had functioned before the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. "You can also use its positive experience," the president stressed.