Russia’s Frozen Soldiers

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.

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