More on ‘Steppe’ Garrison, How Not to Handle PR

According to RIA Novosti, the SibVO has declared ‘Steppe’ fully restored in  heating.  Recall that 2,000 were without heat since 22 December and 100 residents were evacuated in temperatures as low as -47 C (-53 F).  All apartment blocks and the school have heat now.  The restoration ultimately required joint efforts by repair crews from various locations in the SibVO, the Air Forces, and Zabaykalskiy Kray.

The apartment management unit chief, Lieutenant Colonel Konstantin Kondrashov, charged with negligence in maintaining the garrison’s communal services faces a maximum punishment of three months arrest.  The authorities say the repair work costs millions of rubles.

They plan to restore heat to the kindergarten by week’s end.  There are minor problems still in two buildings and one boiler needs another piece of equipment.

Today’s Rossiyskaya gazeta criticizes the SibVO for concealing the problems in ‘Steppe.’  At first the command said there was only a problem with one boiler, but in fact all three in the boiler house broke down, leaving all 2,000 inhabitants without heat.

One resident said, by 28 December, it was +2 C in her apartment with two electric heaters going.  The electric grid couldn’t handle the load.  At this point, people started calling the news agencies and the governor for help.  And the military denied that ‘Steppe’ had been without heat for a week and said there was a problem in only one building.  On 26 December, the SibVO claimed electricity was restored to all three buildings that lost it due to the extraordinary load on the grid.  On 30 December, Lieutenant Colonel Kondrashov said all buildings were getting heat.

One officer said:

“Everything they say about restoring heat is complete bull.  All buildings have ruptured pipes, one after another batteries in apartments give out.  But the garrison’s leadership gives the impression that everything’s normal here!  The SibVO leadership sits in warm offices, not knowing the real situation, I wish one of them had come here.  My name is Nikolay, I’m an officer, serving right now in Steppe.  Believe me, we’re dying out here.  The command hasn’t done anything in the course of a week and concealed the crisis.”

On 30 December, Kray officials intervened with help for the garrison and the situation had improved by 6 January.  On 8 January, 20 repair crews were working in Steppe.

But maybe the incident had something to do with the poor condition and obsolescence of the garrison in the first place.

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