Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported [Russian-language link] on August 17, 2012, that the Russian military is 600 million rubles in the red to its gas and electric suppliers, and as a result thousands of military personnel and their families will go without heat this winter — including those in frozen wastelands like Murmansk where plunging temperatures can be fatal. The Secretary of Housing for the Moscow Region Herman Elyanushkin is quoted as stating that 40% of Moscow-based soldiers and their families had no heat last winter, and the situation was likely to be repeated this year.
The reason for the frozen soldiers is, according to the military, frozen funding in Moscow. In addition to a lack of money to pay for fuel, there is also a lack of funds to maintain heating equipment, so boilers are breaking down and not being repaired or replaced. The military claims it needs the whopping sum of an additional 70 billion rubles to properly heat the residences of its soldiers and their families. The Kremlin, it seems prefers to devote funds to building new and better nuclear weapons, and is prepared to watch Russian soldiers and their families freeze. The question of why Russia’s supposedly booming economy doesn’t have enough funds for both projects remains unasked.
According to the Russian paper, Dmitri Medvedev gave an order on June 26th that all heating issues were to be resolved by the end of last month, but nothing was done and now regional political leaders are sounding the alarm bells.
Of course, the fact that the Russian military got an additional 70 billion rubles would by no means assure that Russian soldiers would be treated in a humane manner. After all, Transparency International and many others have documented chapter and verse that Russia is by far the most corrupt major civilization on the planet, so even if there were a major infusion of funds its likely that they would only be stolen by corrupt bureaucrats and officers long before being used to purchase heating services.
And let’s be clear about who’s really to blame for the suffering of Russian soldiers: The craven citizens of Russia themselves. Russia has universal conscription, so all Russians are perfectly well aware of the how badly their sons are treated when they are forced to enlist. They know about the brutal hazing rituals called dedovschina, they know about the lack of heating and poor food, they know about the slave wages and the slave labor on behalf of officers who profit handsomely. And yet they do nothing. They will not even stand up for their own children, and prefer to allow their government to brutalize those children and compromise the national security.
That is Russia!