Why Russia began to transfer the production of icebreakers from abroad

Replenishment has arrived in the Russian icebreaker fleet. President Vladimir Putin took part in a flag-raising ceremony on an icebreaker named Viktor Chernomyrdin. This was an important milestone in the domestic shipbuilding industry.

Our country has the largest icebreaker fleet in the world. In the public mind, it is strongly associated with powerful nuclear icebreakers capable of breaking through a multi-meter layer of ice to clear the Northern Sea Route. Indeed, in this component, Russia is objectively ahead of the rest of the planet. The promising nuclear-powered ship "Leader" will have no competition at all in the foreseeable future. However, the basis of the fleet is represented by diesel-electric icebreakers, its real "workhorses".

It so happened that many ships of this class were built abroad. So, to this day, we operate four diesel-electric icebreakers of the Captain Sorokin type, which were produced in Finland. The lead ship of this series with the same name in the nineties underwent modernization abroad, in Germany. In the same place, in Helsinki, at the Wärtsilä Oyj Abp (Vyartsilya) shipyard, three icebreakers of the Ermak class were built for the USSR. In terms of their characteristics, these diesel-electric ships are only slightly inferior to the first nuclear-powered icebreaker "Lenin". Everything would be fine, but such dependence on foreign partners makes Russia vulnerable, as further events showed.

The United Shipbuilding Corporation received an order for the construction of a diesel-electric icebreaker of project 22600 ("LK-25") in 2011 and it was assumed that the fleet would receive it in 2015. But it didn't work out. The problem was the placement of part of the order at the Nordic Yards shipyard in Germany, which was owned by Russian businessman Vitaly Yusufov, a native of Gazprom. The Germans received a contract for the construction of a superstructure worth 1,5 billion rubles, 223 million were paid as an advance. Nobody denies the competence of the German shipbuilders, but the devaluation of our national currency, which made the ordered superstructure "golden", played a cruel joke on the project. Moreover, the execution of the work was delayed due to the errors identified during the design. As a result, cooperation with "Nordic Yards" was severed, and 185 million rubles from the prepayment remained in Germany. This example clearly shows how unprofitable it can be to be dependent on a foreign contractor when calculating in foreign currency. In 2013, President Putin said the following about this:

I consider it unacceptable when orders for sea machinery, vessels of the civilian fleet are placed at foreign shipyards without due reason. Priority should be given to domestic producers.

Import substitution in shipbuilding, as in other strategically important industries, is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, all the weaknesses of modern domestic production were revealed at Viktor Stepanovich. In 2013, it turned out that the Iceberg Central Design Bureau, which specializes in the construction of icebreakers, made serious mistakes on this project, because of which the customer was forced to terminate the contract with him and transfer it to another contractor. In 2018, a large fire occurred on the unfinished ship, causing a loss of 150 million rubles. As a result, the launch of the icebreaker was delayed for five whole years, and its cost increased from 8 billion rubles to 10 billion.

Despite this, the icebreaker was still commissioned and is one of the largest and most powerful in its class, built entirely in Russia. It will be able to serve both on the Gulf of Finland and on the Northern Sea Route.
  • Photos used: USC
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  1. amateur Offline amateur
    amateur (Victor) 5 November 2020 18: 21
    Finally, it came to Rosmorport (the customer of the icebreakers) that the wages for their construction should be paid to their workers and engineers, and not to the Finns and the Germans. Interestingly with your mind, or the prosecutor's office suggested?
    1. Joker62 Offline Joker62
      Joker62 (Ivan) 5 November 2020 18: 49
      Most likely anger from the guarantor himself ...
    2. Oleg Bratkov Offline Oleg Bratkov
      Oleg Bratkov (Oleg Bratkov) 6 November 2020 08: 42
      Usually, trade between countries does not follow the commodity-money scheme, but commodity-commodity. Buying one product, you have to sell the second, and there was hardly anything else with the icebreakers. The trade imbalance is called. And the termination of the exchange of one commodity, due to sanctions, for example, will inevitably affect other "permitted" goods. For example, they will stop ordering the construction of icebreakers abroad. At the same time, we do not know what else is being done abroad until it is allowed to learn about it from the newspapers.
  2. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 5 November 2020 21: 24
    What about the oligarch Chernomyrdin, who was destroying the country?

    They wanted to show off what was best, but they stole it as always
  3. oracul Offline oracul
    oracul (leonid) 6 November 2020 07: 20
    Gaining experience in market relations deprives Russia of the flair of naivety that the market will regulate everything. This idea was fiercely promoted by Chubais, Gaidar and others. It's time to understand that market relations are, first of all, people who have their own interests. The construction of icebreakers only confirms this.
    1. Oleg Bratkov Offline Oleg Bratkov
      Oleg Bratkov (Oleg Bratkov) 6 November 2020 08: 45
      Gaidar and Chu

      Quote: oracul
      Gaining experience in market relations deprives Russia of the flair of naivety that the market will regulate everything. This idea was fiercely promoted by Chubais, Gaidar and others ...

      Chubais has achieved his goal, he is now an oligarch. In general, the privatization was very fair, as intended. A hundred people received 90 percent of the national property of the USSR, the remaining 10 percent of the property went to 270 million people. Well, everything seems to be fair.
  4. Jacques sekavar Offline Jacques sekavar
    Jacques sekavar (Jacques Sekavar) 6 November 2020 12: 33
    1. The capacity of the US shipbuilding industry alone is many times greater than the Russian Federation
    2. Having an atomic fleet, nothing prevents from modernizing and putting a nuclear reactor on an icebreaker, for example.
    3. The USA has incomparably more dry docks and shipyards with all the infrastructure suitable for the construction of not only aircraft carriers but also icebreakers.
    4. In this regard, the existing limited capabilities of the Russian Federation engaged in the construction and modernization of the military fleet predetermine the cooperation of the Russian Federation with foreign states - India, Finland, China, without transferring the most important technologies to them.
    1. Roman Rusinov Offline Roman Rusinov
      Roman Rusinov (Roman Rusinov) 25 December 2020 11: 32
      But the Americans have only 3 icebreakers (of which 1 is laid up), and the remaining 2 are not ships, but floating accidents.
  5. Toha from KZ Offline Toha from KZ
    Toha from KZ (Anton) 6 November 2020 16: 39
    We wanted the best, but it turned out as always. As you name the ship, it will float.
  6. gorenina91 Offline gorenina91
    gorenina91 (Irina) 6 November 2020 18: 18
    Why Russia began to transfer the production of icebreakers from abroad

    - Yes, because at these foreign shipyards (where Russian icebreakers are being built) China cannot manage as in Russia ... - But with the transfer of all this production to Russia ... - here China can easily create and dispose of all this production as he pleases ... - Chinese workers will appear immediately; Chinese engineers; Chinese technologists ... and Chinese materials, components, equipment, etc., etc.
    -So do not here ... here ... here to fence a garden and to direct a shadow on the fence ...
    1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 11 November 2020 15: 42
      You overfulfill the order to sink against China with zeal. Who benefits from actions against China, only the United States and their henchmen. Russia in allied relations with China ... The reasons and consequences are obvious ...
  7. Rus Offline Rus
    Rus 7 November 2020 15: 59
    Another breakthrough ... for that kind of money and negligence
  8. Roman Pastukhov Offline Roman Pastukhov
    Roman Pastukhov (Roman Pastukhov) 2 February 2021 21: 46
    Why Russia began to transfer the production of icebreakers from abroad

    Not the transfer, the revival of what was under Soviet rule.