The relevance of the study stems from the considerable interest of the academic community in the history of the Caspian region. The aim of the study is to study the development of transport communications on the Caspian Sea in the early twentieth century. Several previously unexamined discussion materials and articles in the Astrakhan economic journals “Report of the Astrakhan Exchange Committee” for 1909-1911 and “Nash Krai” (Eng. Our Region) for 1925-1927 on the problems of the construction of the Caspian-Volga channel made the main source base for this study. The materials of collective works and monographs on the history of Astrakhan Region as well as the works of modern Astrakhan researchers were also used in the article. The methodology of the research is represented by a set of general scientific principles of research (systematicity, objectivity, and historicism), and specific historical methods. Based on the materials studied, the authors conclude that due to bureaucratic red tape and corruption in the early 20th century, the construction of a major infrastructure project, namely the Caspian-Volga shipping channel, which was supposed to ensure the unimpeded flow of commercial goods through the mouth of the Volga to Astrakhan, was abandoned. This failure slowed down further development of the Caspian-Volga transport route, which, among other products, carried important goods such as paraffin and fish products. The inefficiency of the bureaucracy was heavily criticized by the representatives of major oil producing and shipping firms and sparked a lively discussion in the Astrakhan press about the possibilities of resolving the transport problem in the Caspian Sea.
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