Sunday, December 25, 2022

Siberians Also at War -- a War for Survival against the Cold

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 25 – In Krasnoyarsk Kray alone, 600,000 people live outside major cities and do not have gas to heat their homes. As a result, they must rely on wood fires. The price of wood each month exceeds the average pension many of them receive, leaving many of the people there both cold and desperate.

            The Russian authorities have failed in their responsibility to ensure that the rural residents can survive the brutal cold of that region. Fortunately, there are a small number of NGOs still working who are trying to identify those most in need and bring wood to them to keep them from freezing to death (

            The largest of these, Help with Firewood (, works with local media to let people know there are people ready to help. (For an interactive map showing this system, see

            The rural population in Siberia has always faced difficulties in the winter which can last for eight months or more, but the draft and mobilization for Putin’s war has made the situation far worse because many of the men who would normally be able to forage for wood have been taken to fight in Ukraine.

            As a result, people in this part of Siberia are saying this year that “we here are in something like a war, a war for survival,” a sad commentary on the failure of the Russian authorities to address the needs of the population and the way in which Putin’s war has made life worse for some of those most at risk from the cold weather.

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