During his Far East trip last week, Defense Minister Serdyukov ordered a new boiler house before next winter for the ‘Steppe’ garrison that froze between 21 December and early January. His press secretary said he was paying special attention to the living conditions of servicemen and their families, particularly questions of heat and electricity supply, during his DVO visit. Of course, ‘Steppe’ isn’ t the only place where heating has been a serious problem. The Defense Ministry has to deal with aging, neglected service housing infrastructure in many locations, and these ‘housekeeping’ issues are quite a headache.
As previously noted, heating is a problem in the Khabarovsk Kray garrison of Pereyaslavka. The loss of its regiment to the ‘new profile’ has compounded its problem. The kray’s authorities are getting complaints from residents about low temperatures in the garrison’s apartment buildings. The local press notes that the military installed new boilers at Pereyaslavka, but can’t or won’t pay a civilian service company to operate and maintain them. Local officials want to take over heating for the former garrison, but need a formal agreement that spells out the respective responsibilities of the DVO, the kray, and the rayon. Recall from an earlier post that the locals seem fairly eager to take control of the military town.
Another tale of heating problems came this fall from Samara where retired officers have waited since 2007 to occupy completed apartment buildings, but the Defense Ministry, Samara KECh, the builders, and city authorities have not paid for and arranged a connection to the nearest boiler house and heating network. See Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye’s coverage.
A military pensioner’s family in Troitsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast has appealed publicly to President Medvedev for help with its housing and heating problems, according to Lenta.ua. Since 2002, the retired military man has tried to get a GZhS, but meanwhile lives in a cold apartment in the Troitsk military town. The temperature indoors is reported between 54 and 57 F, and as low as 43 F in some years. However, the military town’s housing commission, including a deputy unit commander, maintains there are no heating problems. More than twenty other retired servicemen are similarly awaiting GZhS here.
The PUrVO KEU [apartment management directorate] indicates that responsibility for energy supply in Troitsk has gone over to a civilian firm, and that any heating problems have been corrected. Not so, according to the pensioner’s family. The Chelyabinsk garrison prosecutor hasn’t been any help, even though, in 2007, it declared the boiler house’s equipment obsolete and worn out as the result of many years of use.
In a more positive vein, in June, the Defense Ministry and Voronezh Oblast announced they would construct a new modular gas boiler to supply heat and hot water for 11 apartment blocks and more than 700 families in the military town of Buturlinovsk. The project was jointly financed, and reportedly being completed in November, but was also caught up in the issue of whether the military town and utilities would transfer to civilian municipal control. The Defense Ministry and Voronezh are dickering over a lot of issues and property since the oblast’s military presence, especially VVS, is growing under the ‘new profile.’
In the end, the promise of a new boiler house this year to a garrison that already froze last year won’t be enough to fix the major infrastructure problem that is Russia’s service housing stock.