Staunton, Feb. 8 – Five gas explosions took place in Russian apartment blocks last month, putting the country on course to more than double the 30 which took place last year. Not surprisingly, some Russians are blaming Ukrainian agents. But experts say the real causes are an aging housing stock, inadequate upkeep and human error.
Both media talk about Ukrainian diversionists now and the events of 1999 in which Russian officials blamed without evidence the Chechens for blowing up apartment buildings then, something that helped mobilize support for the second Russian invasion of that republic that helped power the rise of Vladimir Putin.
But specialists on housing in the Duma and among the expert community say that the real causes at least this time around aren’t “Ukrainian agents” but rather more prosaic ones, including the aging of the buildings, the lack of upgrades and repairs, and poor safety practices by both the population and the owners of the buildings (nakanune.ru/articles/120315/).
Their conclusions must be kept in mind when, as seems certain, there are even more gas explosions in Russian apartment blocks in the coming months and when some in the Russian capital and elsewhere will seek to blame the Ukrainians both to shift responsibility and whip up war hysteria against them.