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HomeAuslandCold Disaster in Russia: Outdated Infrastructure Leaves People Freezing

Cold Disaster in Russia: Outdated Infrastructure Leaves People Freezing

Due to the prolonged low temperatures in Russia, a long-standing issue becomes clearly visible: The dilapidated infrastructure of the country, mostly dating back to the Soviet era, fails under extreme conditions. According to reports from “Business Insider”, the Russian state does not or barely intervene. Instead, a large part of the state budget is allocated to funding the war in Ukraine.

Dilapidated Heating Systems Collapse in Extreme Cold

All over the country, outdated heating systems collapse, leaving the population in the cold. In parts of Russia, such as Siberia, temperatures as low as -57 degrees Celsius have been recorded. According to “Business Insider”, disruptions in the heating systems already affected large parts of the Moscow region and the city of St. Petersburg in December.

An example of the dire consequences is an incident in the western Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. Several people scalded themselves as boiling water leaked from a burst heating pipeline. Additionally, over 3000 people were cut off from the heating supply.

The Russian lawmaker Svetlana Razvorotneva expressed to DW: “We are still using the municipal infrastructure that was created in the Soviet era.” She estimates that about 40% of the municipal heating networks in the country urgently need replacement.

Russia Plans to Increase Its Military Spending

According to the Financial Times, expenditures for public services accounted for only 2.2% of Russia’s total spending last year. In contrast, the share of military spending amounted to about 21% of the state budget. Russia plans to raise defense spending to one-third of the budget this year.

According to British intelligence reports, the growing costs of war could lead the Kremlin to introduce austerity measures to manage the budget deficit. Nevertheless, it seems likely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will start his fifth term in March. “The people are dissatisfied with the state of the municipal services, but they consider the situation a chronic illness,” said Denis Volkov, director of the Levada Center research center.

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