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May 27, 2024
PI Global Investments

Russians freeze as infrastructure buckles during severe winter weather

Thousands of Russians are living without heating through a freezing winter that is breaking the country’s fragile Soviet-era infrastructure.

Hot water pipes are bursting, electricity is failing and radiators are freezing across Russia, triggering complaints from angry locals who have accused officials of incompetence two months before a presidential election.

In videos posted this week from Nizhny Novgorod, 265 miles east of Moscow, residents were evacuating apartments flooded with steaming boiling water.

“The apartment is completely destroyed. The apartment is uninhabitable,” said one man as he filmed water pouring through the ceiling.

After dozens of residential buildings were left without central heating in Klimovsk, a town in the Moscow region, a mobile kitchen with a wood-burning furnace was set up for residents left cold and unable to cook.

In Novosibirsk, Siberia, a major pipe burst on Wednesday, projecting a spout of boiling water high into the air which burnt 13 people and left entire apartment blocks without heating during one of Russia’s coldest winters for decades.

A resident of Novosibirsk said she was upset but was not surprised.

“Of course people are upset. They have been in the cold, with children, since January 11,” she said, declining to give her name. “I wasn’t surprised at all. It would have happened at some point because the pipes that burst were laid back in 1973 and 1963.”

Municipal officials have admitted that the burst pipe in Novosibirsk was laid in 1963 and was last repaired in 1990, a year before the Soviet Union collapsed.

In Khimki, a suburb of Moscow, freezing residents have taken to huddling around a fire on the street to keep warm in temperatures of -25C.

“We haven’t had any heating since January 2. The authorities are aware of the problem,” said a woman in a video of several people holding up ‘SOS’ signs. “Please help us, we are desperate.”

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