War in Ukraine: what does the Crimean bridge represent for Vladimir Putin?

Nicholas Tonev

The Crimean bridge, linking Russia to the peninsula annexed in 2014 to the detriment of Ukraine, was partially destroyed on Saturday by an explosion attributed by Moscow to a truck bomb. This key infrastructure has economic and geopolitical symbolism for Vladimir Putin.


According to Moscow, it will take two months for the Russian authorities to restore the Crimean bridge, badly damaged after the explosion of a truck bomb. If road and rail traffic has resumed well on the bridge, this attack, beyond the strategic side, is also symbolic for Vladimir Putin.

This bridge is the embodiment of the visions of the head of the Kremlin. On the geostrategic level, after the annexation of Crimea, the Master of the Kremlin decided to build the bridge in defiance of international law. It makes it possible to privatize the Sea of ​​Azov at the expense of Ukraine, whose boats have been seized several times by the Russian authorities.

A Putinian object

On a personal level, the bridge is also a typical Putinian object. Vladimir Putin presided over the two inaugurations of the bridge, that of 2018 for the roadways and then that of 2019 for the railway. The beneficiary of the 3 billion from the construction is called Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of the head of the Kremlin, who became a multi-billionaire thanks to generous public contracts signed without a call for tenders, including that of the Crimean bridge. In the Putin system, the fait accompli is necessary in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of the strong men of Russia to ensure their support.

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