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EBRD looking into Caspian canal projects

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Monday, February 18
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will soon issue a tender to investigate the advantages of two Caspian canal projects. The two projects are aimed at increasing maritime links between the inland Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, which connects to the world’s oceans.

The Volga–Don 2 project involves upgrading the Volga–Don canal, which connects the Caspian Sea with the Sea of Azov, by building a second channel to increase the capacity of the connection.

The Eurasia Canal project, favored by Kazakhstan, proposes constructing a new, more direct connection above the Caucasus.

On February 2, Russian first deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev—who is expected to succeed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the upcoming March election—said a decision should be made by the end of the year and did not rule out the possibility of both projects going ahead.

“There are two possible options. The first is to continue to develop the second thread of the Volga-Don Canal and to build it with the help of a consortium of a number of countries. The second option, which is quite sound as well, is the Eurasia Canal,” United Press International quoted Medvedev as saying, “These two variants should be scrutinized and decisions should be made on them by the year’s end.”

“In any case, each variant could be developed. One project could be an international and the second could be regional to interregional,” he added.