Regional Development Minister Viktor Basargin apparently doesn’t want to share any of the blame this winter.
At a government meeting today, Basargin said he’s worried about whether military towns are capable of preparing for winter in the necessary fashion. ITAR-TASS quoted him:
“This year problems with preparation for winter have already arisen in 95 percent of military towns.”
He said there are places like St. Petersburg providing positive examples, but “in a number of regions the military is hiding the true state of affairs from the administration.”
He indicated this could lead to recurrences of last winter’s situation with the frozen ‘Steppe’ garrison in Transbaykal.
“Minregion and the MVD have taken this situation under firm control, I have reported to the chairman of the government [Putin] about it. The decision was singular: all military towns have to perform all procedures mandatory for civilian populated areas. I ask administrators in all areas to give this special attention.”
So Basargin’s decided in advance he won’t take the heat (or lack of it) and the blame this year. It’s all shifted squarely, and early, onto the Defense Ministry. One finds it a little odd that Basargin and Minregion would call Serdyukov out so publicly over this. Maybe they really see disaster looming.
It’s clear military base infrastructure, especially that which Serdyukov wants to do away with, isn’t getting much attention and there are lots of other demands on the military’s money. To be fair, a lot of garrisons were in a really bad state and grossly neglected long before Serdyukov arrived. There are, however, several things he’s done which make the situation worse. The shift to brigades and renovation of the MD structure have caused shuffling that could leave some officers, families, military pensioners, or troops out in the cold. Especially in the most severe climate regions. And cuts in support troops and services, and their privatization, probably isn’t going smoothly in remote (and cold) areas. This could cause disruptions in winter logistics.
We’ll see how the winter goes.