Staunton, Jan. 25 – The collapse of heating, plumbing and light in Russian homes across the country has attracted more attention; but even as these problems intensify because of cutbacks in government funding in order to allow Putin to spend more on his war in Ukraine, millions of Russians face another communal services problem: failing elevators.
According to government report, more than 100,000 elevators – one of every five in the country -- need to be replaced this year because they are more than 25 years old, but there is no money either at the federal or local level to do this (newizv.ru/news/2024-01-24/vse-sroki-proshli-kazhdyy-pyatyy-lift-trebuet-zameny-i-ugrozhaet-zhiltsam-426492).
And the problem is not limited to aging elevators. Many of the elevators installed in the last 25 years are inadequate because builders cut corners to save money and the Russian authorities did little or nothing to force them to install elevators that would work for long periods or even throughout buildings where more than one elevator is typically needed.
Because most urban Russians live in high rises, this means that many people have to walk up many flights of steps at risk to their health or take the only elevator available far away from their apartments and possibly suffer when they ride it. Many deaths and injuries are reported every year as a result of elevator accidents.
This communal services crisis is unlikely to get the media attention that the absence of heat and plumbing do not only because the number of people affected in any particular accident is small but also because neither the government nor the media focus on it. But it is yet another disaster of Russian life under Putin that is contributing to a rising tide of anger in the population.