Magnitogorsk Only Further Tarnishes Russian Emergency Services Ministry’s Bad Reputation
January 2 – The fact that one child buried in the rubble at the Magnitogorsk
explosion was found alive only because his father overrode representatives of the
emergency services ministry to show where his son must be has outraged some
Russians as yet another example of their government’s indifference to what
happens to them.
commentator Anastasiya Kirilenko says that in “rotting” Europe, as the Putin
regime describes it, those responding to a disaster would have done everything
possible to try to save the lives of the victims.But in Russia, “no such efforts” to do so
were in evidence (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C2BC1BD70D50).
reactions to the approach of Russian officials, including the decision to pull
most of the ambulances away from the scene even before all the missing had been
found, are likely to spark demands for a wholesale housecleaning at the
Emergency Services Ministry which has already acquired a horrific reputation.
she says, arrests of its senior officials for malfeasance have been a daily occurrence
in recent months.
marks a major change, Volkova says. When Sergey Shoygu was in charge, the
emergency services ministry was among the most respected institutions in the
country, according to numerous polls, with people saying that “they steal
everywhere except in the ministry for emergency situations.”
time passes” and that image has passed away as well. The ministry’s poor
performance at the Kemerovo shopping center fire, an event that cost 60 lives,
represented a major turning point.Ever
more often since then both ordinary Russians and other Russian officials have
questioned the ministry’s capacity to do its job.
have revealed cases of major bribes, incompetence, and other forms of malfeasance
in the ministry, Volkova says.She
details more than half a dozen of them.And the failure of the ministry to contain wildfires last summer and reduce
deaths from fires throughout the year has highlighted the ministry’s lack of needed
equipment and skills.
in the wake of Magnitogorsk and fires in Moscow and other Russian cities in
recent days, even more questions are certain to be raised about why the
ministry doesn’t have the equipment it requires or apparently the commitment it
needs to protect Russians. If the Kremlin doesn’t act quickly, ever more
Russians are likely to shift the blame from the ministry to it.