Putin and Emergency Situations Ministers address cold weather extremes

Yesterday Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spend a good part of his day on addressing the recent abnormal cold temperatures in certain regions and what local governments are doing to serve Russians in those areas. Emergency Situations directors took part in a video conference, reporting from regions hit with extreme weather conditions.

Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, Moscow.

During meeting of the Minister of Emergency Situations, Minister Sergei Shoigu told the Prime Minister, “…we have registered 64 incidents in the communal services, including 35 in housing services and utilities, 23 failures in electricity generation and six transport problems (in Volgograd). Repeated disruptions of the supply of electricity in the Krasnodar Territory have caused the biggest problems. The most recent incidents occurred yesterday and today. All break-downs are being fixed as part of the general effort to deal with the consequences of the storms. Traffic was interrupted on the P-228 motorway in the Murmansk Region and on some roads in the Saratov and Volgograd regions. On the whole the Russian emergency alert system is functioning well. We regularly take warning measures and alert our units. A full-strength task force is currently deployed (in the Murmansk Region) and additional maintenance and installation teams have also been sent there. The priority of these task forces are vehicles that have become trapped or have broken down and large convoys; they help refuel vehicles and keep drivers warm, pull out vehicles that have become stuck and look after drivers.”

Mr. Shoigu reported that over 30,000 Russians have been evacuated to temporary shelters so far in the past weeks due to extremely low temperatures and a lack of heat in their apartment buildings. Shoigu also said that regional emergency forces were equipped with stand-by electric power sources, including 3,900 diesel power units on standby if needed. Some of those units have already been in use in the Krasnodar Territory.

Meantime Mr. Putin was questioned on his response to negative information regarding his tenure on the Internet, especially from Russian blog sites. Mr. Putin responded by saying, “Negative phenomena exist everywhere, including on the internet, and should not be used as a pretext to limit internet freedom. To prevent this and to enable society to protect itself against these negative phenomena, we must make sure that all actions in this sphere are as transparent as possible and that they are undertaken and worked out together with the internet community.”