Carrying out Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's idea to turn the flow of Siberian rivers towards Asia would threaten Russia with an environmental and economic catastrophe. This is the opinion of Dr. Valentina Vityazeva, a professor of geographical sciences. She is the only expert left in Komi of the group that in the middle of the 20th century looked at the possibility of re-routing northern rivers to flow into the Caspian Sea.
Luzhkov recently suggested to the President that the government take another look at the proposal to re-route Siberian rivers towards Central Asia. According to Moscow's mayor, the project would help to provide the 'dry" Asian regions with water from the Siberian rivers. According to information supplied by Komiinform, Professor Vityazeva believes that the government and the President should ignore Luzhkov's proposal and find other sources of water for Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In addition, taming the Ob would require colossal financial resources.
According to Vityazeva, the people behind the current proposal will face the same problems that the Komi scientists came up against when the Communist Party hatched the idea of using explosions to unite the Pechora and Vychegda Rivers with the sources of the rivers flowing into the Volga. If the project was carried out, the direction of the northern rivers would be reversed. The Komi scientists examined territory that had previously been submerged and came to the conclusion that the greatest danger is posed not by flooding, but by underground saturation of the huge surrounding territories, which are inhabited by animals and home to many plants. After the project was carried out, an area of land containing mineral deposits might find itself flooded. It would also be necessary to cut down up to 15 thousand square kilometres of forest, after which nothing would stand in the northern winds' path to the centre of the country anymore. What is more, the rivers carry warm water from the south to the northern seas and by altering their flow, man would change the global climate. For these reasons the Communist Party decided not to carry out the project.
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