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Transport in the Development of Soviet Policy

Courtesy Reuters

THE state of Russia's transport and communications has always been a test of her strength. In 1856 France and England would never have considered attacking the Crimea had Russia been able to reinforce armies on the Black Sea coast by rail from Moscow or St. Petersburg. According to General Kuropatkin, who commanded the Tsar's army in Manchuria in 1904-05, the Japanese would have been defeated had the Russians been able to speed up the arrival of reinforcements and supplies. While logistics certainly were not the only reason for Japan's victory, the fact remains that the Russians would have fought under much more favorable conditions if the single-track Trans-Siberian railroad had had a more solid roadbed, a few more looplines providing for greater train frequency and, last but not least, if communications had not depended upon ice conditions in Lake Baikal, which had to be crossed by ferry when the ice was

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