President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, veteran builders, volunteers and residents of BAM cities and villages,
Today is an important day for our country – 45 years since the launch of construction of the legendary Baikal-Amur Mainline.
First of all, I would like to congratulate everyone but especially the veteran builders on this landmark event.
BAM is much more than one of the largest railway lines in Russia and the world. It is a unique combination of hard work, courage and dreams of hundreds of thousands of people.
The importance of such a railway line for the development of Siberia and the Russian Far East was discussed back in the early 20th century, and it was clear that it would be an extremely complicated project.
BAM was a huge challenge for the country but primarily for those who took part in that huge project. The builders of the railroad and cities and villages along it, the railway workers, those who built the bridges and the tunnels, as well as the volunteers, all inspired by a common idea, worked together for a better future, performing acts of everyday heroism.
BAM was really a national project. Some 2 million people were involved in it over the entire construction period.
The infrastructure groundwork created in the 1970s and 1980s opened the door to the rapidly growing markets of the Asia Pacific region for our companies and has become a reliable transit route connecting the whole of Eurasia.
Our thanks for all this goes to the veteran builders and those who at present are working on the railway line.
We have a new goal now. We must make a real breakthrough in the development of the national transport infrastructure within the next few years.
One of our priorities is to modernise BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway so as to increase their capacity to over 200 million tonnes annually by 2025.
I am confident that the current generation of railway personnel, builders, workers and engineers can accomplish this mission and that they will be worthy of the BAM trailblazers.
I wish you every success and thank you from the bottom of my heart for working for the sake of Russia.