The development of the Northern Sea Route, Iinking European Russia by the shortest sea route to the Russian Far East, has enabled the vast resources of north Siberia to be opened up. In 1917 the route had hardly bee charted. By 1970 it was a busy, wealthy waterway, 1ts 1ce cleared by atomic - powered icebreakers, .its trade continually expanding, and 1ts full potent1al st1ll to be realized