Friday, January 6, 2017

Hundreds of Thousands of Russian Die Each Year Because Officials Aren’t Held Responsible, Gudkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 5 – Because no one in a position of power in Russia is held responsible for his actions, Russia leads the world in terms of accidents and hundreds of thousands of Russians die prematurely each year, according to opposition politician and commentator Gennady Gudkov.

            In a blog post on Ekho Moskvy, he points out that Russia is a country where one disaster follows another, something all too many people have come to accept as a fact of life rather than seeing it for what it is, the product of a system in which no senior official is ever held responsible for failure (

            Why are there so many aviation disasters in Russia? he asks. Why do so many people die on the highways? Why is Russia in the top five of countries in terms of the number of victims of crime? And why do ever more Russians die in fires and floods?  There are many other “whys,” Gudkov says; but “the answer is obvious: the irresponsibility of officials.”

            And to those questions can be added another more fundamental one, he continues. Why in Russia are such irresponsible officials never removed or their organizations changed after a disaster but rather allowed to continue to work as they have, thereby ensuring that there will be an unending series of disasters?

            The answer lies above all in the fact that “in Russia ALL POWER is uncontrolled, especially that of the executive, including the president, government, ministers, governors and mayors, in a word all the top bunch.  This is a systematic shortcoming intentionally written into the 1993 Constitution and elevated to the point of absurdity by hundreds of new laws.”

            “Any effort to change this principle leads to the most concerted resistance of the SYSTEM: otherwise how could it continue to steal and enrich itself?” And that means that nothing can change until there is constitutional reform and a new constitution changes the way the powers that be act.

            Gudkov continues: “But there are also other important issues which directly influence the preservation of the life of the citizens of Russia which also INTENTIONALLY are not being addressed and resolved in bureaucratic Russia.” Since the end of Soviet times, there hasn’t been any independent expert assessment of anything.

            Instead, those responsible for the problems investigate themselves, a recipe for covering up the real causes and thus ensuring that nothing is done to prevent problems in the future, the politician-commentator says. Even in the totalitarian USSR, there were “state” commissions; now there are only “government” ones, a difference that any Russian should immediately feel.

            The current system means that either no one is blamed or that someone who can’t respond is –someone in the latter case either so junior as to be dispensed with or even better someone who died in the accident and can’t speak for himself, Gudkov says.  And it also means something that everyone can see but that few recognize as being as damning as it is.

            Officials after a disaster never talk about the causes; they talk only about how many people or machines they have deployed in response, he points out, something bad enough in the case of particular disasters but even worse with regard to the system’s larger failures in which thousands die each year.

            “The very worst thing,” Gudkov argues, “is not a place accident or a specific catastrophe.  In our country MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS die EACH YEAR as a result of bad roads, at the hands of released criminals, in fires which should never have occurred, and from surrogate vodka.”

             And he continues: “And HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS more die from failing to get timely medical help, fraudulent medications or the lack of regular ones. And so we live,” Gudkov says, “from catastrophe to tragedy, the payment of the people for the paradise of the bureaucrats” who act for themselves and not for those they are supposed to serve.

            He attaches to his blog post the following annual deaths from various causes: 30,000 from automobile accidents, 30,000 from the actions of criminals, 10,000 to 11,000 in fires, 10,000 to 11,000 from surrogate alcohol, and “several HUNDRED thousand from bad medicine, alcohol and narcotics.”

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