Statistics fully confirm that the situation with housing in Russia is getting worse, Larionov says. Between 1995 and 2000, there were only 10 serious gas explosions in apartment blocks; between 2014 and 2018, there have been “more than 50,” with 20 taking place in this year alone.
According to figures for 2015 – more recent ones haven’t been published, about 60 percent of all housing blocks had deteriorated to the point that they required major repairs; and in some places, as many as 80 percent fell into this category. “Today,” Larionov suggests, “this statistic may be equal to 70 percent.”
Other forms of infrastructure such as electric generating and heating plants have deteriorated at least as much during Putin’s time in power. And this has not been an accident but the direct result of Putinism and its theft of resources from the population for the Kremlin elite and its friends.
“Despite the colossal incomes received from the sale of oil and gas abroad,” Larionov says, the Putin regime has failed to put money into housing, preferring to pocket it all itself. As a result, “infrastructure as a whole has radically decayed,” in some sectors and regions with twice as many buildings in trouble than were when Putin came to power.
The Russian government, of course, doesn’t put out statistics on this theft. But other governments do. The US estimates that Russian elites have exported a trillion US dollars in resources to North America alone. British experts say that “another 500 billion dollars” have flowed from Russia to London.
That is 1.5 trillion US dollars; and there is more elsewhere in Switzerland, Cyprus, and Malta to name just three, Larionov continues. Had just a fraction of this flow been retained in Russia and spent on housing, no Russian would be dying from a gas explosion.
“Therefore,” he says, “the answer to the question --‘who killed people in Magnitogorsk?’ – is simple: the very same man who had just flown there in order to see with his own eyes, the real result of his 19 years in power.”
Many more Russians will draw that conclusion, if as Znak news agency is reporting, Putin delivers his New Years message from Magnitogorsk rather than Moscow, the first time he will have done so other than from the Kremlin, a form of reaching out to the population that certainly is too little too late for those who have died (