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The BAM's older rival, the Trans-Siberian Railway, is certainly more popular.Today, BAM land is overwhelmingly Putin land.So three friends joined me on an improbable two-week railway adventure across Siberia.To Tatiana Nicolaevna Vetrova, the museum's curator, the BAM was a symbol of unity.Finally, Tatiana sold me the story of BAM, written in verse, for 350 rubles ($6).Tatiana insisted that BAM construction was started in 1974, the politically correct date, after which "clean labor" was used.Nonetheless, the Brezhnev-era BAM construction showed what that dying Soviet system was still capable of achieving.The truth is that Siberian Russia – still home to 20-30 million Russians – benefited significantly more from the Soviet system than the European population centers did.
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