Statement by G.A. Zyuganov, the Chairman of the CPRF Central Committee
Incompetence of the power burns Russia
2010 has not yet completed. But it has already entered the history of Russia as one of the most dramatic one. Heat and drought have contributed to large-scale fires. Entire villages and towns burned down. But people were dying not only in the fire. Even in the capital during July and August 700 people died daily. This means that fires doubled the number of deaths.
Huge forest areas burned out. Enormous environmental damage was caused. The agriculture suffered the heaviest blow, which was already lying on its side. Hundreds of thousands of peasants will never see the harvest this year. Rising of prices for staple foods is inevitable.
The size of the disaster is obvious. It has affected tens of millions of people. And although in recent years Russia has experienced a whole series of tragedies, the current one is nationwide. Moreover, the impact of what happened on the life of the country is far from being exhausted. Millions of people swallowed harmful substances; their health has been severely damaged. The true extent of what happened will be known later.
The trouble, in which citizens found themselves, got home across the country. Contributions are being taken for the victims. And the Communist Party of the Russian Federation does not stand aside. Our comrades collect funds and items for fire victims. The actions of the regional offices of the Party are coordinated by the working group of the CPRF Central Committee. But even national support won’t return the relatives and friends to those who suffered bitter losses in the days of fires.
Alas, but happened what always happens when the government acts “at random”, when it is not fulfilling its direct functions, does not listen to the voice of the people. The thing happened, against which we, the Communists, so insistently were trying to protect the country. All those, who influence key decisions in the state, we warned about the increasing threats. Five years ago, our Party in the State Duma issued special report “Critical limits of decline”, prepared by the best scientists. In 2006-2007, the CPRF waged constant struggle against the new, devastating in its essence, Forest Code. No less serious work was done in preparation of the Water Code. The most thorough analysis of these documents was carried out at the round tables in the State Duma. Special materials were handed over to the leadership of the country.
We consistently pursued the policy of use of land, forest and water resources of Russia in the interests of all citizens. We demanded to ensure the appropriate regulation of these relations by the state. We argued that the adoption of new Forest and Water codes was contrary to these objectives. We persistently attracted public attention. Used all available methods – from the parliamentary rostrum to actions of mass protests. Did not miss a single opportunity to reach out to the authorities. But we failed to break through the ranks of officials, behind shoulders of which loomed the interests of big capital and personal gain.
After the floods on the Lena River and in the North Caucasus, earthquake on Sakhalin, we demanded the authorities to undertake more stringent and specific measures to restore order. We insisted that the accident at the Sayan-Shushenskaya power station reaffirmed need for state ownership of strategic sectors of the economy. We explained that the fire in the Permian club “Lame horse” required comprehensive security measures for public facilities. We showed that excess profits of “coal barons”, saving on labor safety and health of miners, would lead straight to the accidents, which in recent months occurred in mines “Raspadskaya” and “Voroshilov” in Kuzbass.
Alas, we failed in bringing the power to reason. Neither convinced we the authorities to switch on “red light” in the way of oligarchy’s enrichment. The root of evil remains – it is rampant and cynical capital’s rush for profits. The ruling circles are firmly aimed to satisfy its appetites. They are continuously kicking off from the state the responsibility for major areas of activity. Gangster capitalism has destroyed almost all the collective farms, which were able to withstand droughts and fires.
The first persons succeeded in appointing “scapegoats” for each accident and disaster. At the same the integrity of key officials, realizing the most loathsome experiments on people and our country, is alleged. Kudrin (minister of finance) is “irreplaceable”: he is successfully depleting the economy and social sphere, shifting the burden of expenditure on the shoulders of impoverished regions. Serdyukov (minister of defense) is “irreplaceable”: it is difficult to find the best craftsman in transforming the Army into the trade shop. Fursenko (minister of education) is “irreplaceable”: he’s already trained enough in burying with an imperturbable air the best achievements of science and education. “Irreplaceable” is as well chief privatization master of the country, the destroyer of the world’s best energy system, to whose mercy is now given the development of nanotechnology.
Senior officials are blaming the incident on the governors and their officials. The governors believe that the central government is guiltier, but it keeps “bashing” district chiefs. District chiefs believe that incompetent government policies are to blame, but do not say this out loud.
Everyone and everything are guilty: climate and nature disaster, peat fields and enthusiasts of outdoor recreation, sellers of domestic fans and citizens, who have not entrenched their houses and villages. The only ones are not to be blamed without whom the Russian state takes any decisions. Their ruling party is neither to be blamed. They are not to be blamed either legally or politically or morally.
People, who created nothing in this life, use to shift their responsibility onto others. Those, who built nothing by their own hands, commonly roll off to relentless PR. Current government’s self-advertisement is increasingly removing it from real life. Just one fact: despite all the statements of officials, the apartments promised this year are available to far from all veterans of the Great Patriotic War.
In the glare of fires in 2010 helplessness of power in specific cases was clearly visible. Millions of people faced the problem of protection of their lives, their homes, and their future. Citizens of Russia have found out that the power, its top people are incompetent in the problems of public administration; do not perform their assigned duties. Attempts to give meaning to their activities by demonstrating the “manual control” of the country, only underscore the inefficiency and stupidity of the power vertical.
All that happens is a lesson, but not for the power itself. This is a lesson for the country and its citizens. The lesson of ability to assess the situation not by words or TV picture, but by deeds and abilities. The lesson of ability to fight for the rights and to build-up the power in the people’s interests.
Experts warned that this summer would be hot. This was reinforced by predictions of meteorologists and the experience of practical management. Consequently, the fire disaster did not come all of a sudden and was fully expected. But no preparations of the country and the population to the emergency situation have been undertaken.
But there are things over which the authority is obliged to work without special notice. There are problems to which it must be always prepared. The minimization of the impact of natural disasters, war and political conflicts, economic boycotts, terrorism and criminality is the direct responsibility of the state. It provides special budget allocations. There is Ministry of emergencies and other services to cope with this. Especially for the activities the complex of both prevention and mobilizing measures is due to be worked out. “It is cheaper to prevent diseases than to treat them” – this principle works not only in medicine. And if the government does not understand this, it is harmful to society and should be replaced.
The priorities of the regime are increasingly turning Russia into the realm of absurdity. Structures of Ministry of emergencies by encouraging volunteers to put out fires, offered them to be at the sites with their food, drinking water and even masks! And the desire to please their superiors further encouraged officials to act in the style of a bad joke. Regular meteorological observations in the world are no more than two hundred years old. However, this did not prevent the heads of Roshydromet and Hydrometcenter talk themselves to the fact that such heat we had no more than a thousand years.
It is common in Russia to make a mockery of any tragedy. Top officials urged the opposition not to do PR on people’s disaster, but they themselves hastened to do just that. Performing personal participation in extinguishing fires, they actually acknowledged the collapse of state-led system. After all, the task of the government is to prevent the disaster, to ensure safe living conditions of the population. And this very task was gone like a damp squib. Fiery shaft swept across the whole central Russia. There was a tragedy that could not brighten up by the fuss in front of TV viewers. In such a situation won’t save the surveillance by cameras for housing construction instead of the burnt houses. Under the current policy and the “politics of disaster” there are simply not enough cameras for all occasions.
The power being absorbed in denouncing the Soviet past just to justify bureaucratic-oligarchic tyranny is stubbornly refusing to learn from predecessors. Meanwhile, in 1930-s in the USSR to fight forest fires caterpillar train-road-free vehicle “Yaroslavets” was created. Later on heavy fire vehicles on the basis of military equipment were constructed and produced. There appeared the first units of military pipelayers. In 1952 I.V. Stalin decided to single them out in a separate branch of the armed forces.
Time has shown the importance of such decisions to ensure the safety of the country. Pipelayers saved thousands of lives of our soldiers in Afghanistan, were credible force that helped with disaster in Spitak and Chernobyl, by the forest and peat fires. The start of the “reforms” they were compact and truly universal modern armed forces. They provided both the army during the fighting activity and were powerful strategic reserve for emergencies. Now, during the transition to Serdyukov’s “new look of the Armed Forces”, all piping brigades have been reduced. Only separate battalions in military districts and fleets have been left. The country is left without an important strategic reserve.
An integrated approach to the challenges allowed the USSR to solve the most serious issues. In 1972 it was all-too hot. But forest fires and burning peat did not become a universal disaster. More than 100 thousand soldiers were involved in extinguishing the fires. Currently, however, only 11,000 servicemen have been employed, and with long overdue. In the then time only in the Moscow region 300 lines of field pipelines of 1300 kilometers length were deployed. Now the authorities have been able to lay 170 kilometers of pipeline in four areas: Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Ryazan and Vladimir. No wonder that the damage from fires in 2010 has far outweighed the losses of 1972.
Domestic design school even today offers interesting developments. But the authorities have consistently ignored the possibilities of Russian aerospace industry and other branches. In the early 2000’s the Ural Transport Engineering Design Bureau drafted out a fire tank. It could carry a large supply of water, pass through off-road and break deep into the forest to the fire site. Its production on the basis of utilized T-72 could cost quite cheap. But the developments remained unclaimed. Even now, after the bitter lessons of this summer, the authorities do not hurry to act efficiently. They pay no attention to domestic developers, considering instead the purchase of fire equipment abroad.
The CPRF believes that further delay in the country reconstruction on a platform of people’s interests is fraught with irreversible consequences. At the same time it has becjme obvious to everyone that the current composition of the government headed by V. Putin fails to cope with the accumulated problems. The situation demands that the president of the Russian Federation should undertake the clearing-up of administrative heaps both as the first person in the state, and as a politician having out-party status.
At the same time the CPRF insists on implementing the following priority measures:
1. Carry out immediately thorough review of the causes and effects of the 2010’s emergency at the State Council and at a special meeting of State Duma.
2. Within two months adopt a special Plan for an integrated solution of all issues of national security, protection of the country and the population from emergencies.
3. Develop new Land, Forest and Water Codes. Prior to their adoption, suspend the current codes with regard to the provisions of land, forests and water sites’ transfer to private ownership.
4. Call off immediately current plans for further privatization of state property. Proceed to the increase in the share of state property and improve its management.
5. Recognize the necessity of collective farms and logging enterprises development as crucial for solving aggravated problems. Develop and implement a program of the restoration of large collective farms with deep specialization in production and processing of agricultural products.
6. Restore the unified public service for forests’ protection. Carry out an ambitious program of land fertility restoring and development of derelict land. Create specialized units to carry out reclamation work.
7. Increase funding for agricultural sector from the federal budget to the level not lower than 10 per cent of its expenditure. In five years restore the material and technical base of the agriculture, its power capacity. Implement a program that allows creating normal living conditions for people in rural areas.
Implementation of the above set of measures will significantly enhance the competitiveness of Russia in XXI century; will improve the protection of citizens from accidents and disasters. Without these measures, all talks about the country modernization will remain dead letter.
For its part, the CPRF faction is ready to re-introduce to the State Duma earlier rejected by the “United Russia” projects of the Land, Forest and Water Codes.