A roadblock in Vladimir Putin’s reelection campaign has been the explosion of hot-water pipes, which leaves tens of thousands of people without heat during the Russian winter.
Initially, there were eggs. Now, hot water pipes are exploding. According to RFE/RL’s Mike Eckel, “The Domestic Headaches Overshadowing Putin’s Reelection Messaging,” on Thursday:
A major hot-water main burst in Novosibirsk, Siberia, the third-largest city in Russia. Steaming water rushed through frozen streets, cutting off heating to thousands of people and numerous buildings in frigid temperatures.
This is not a unique instance. As Russian infrastructure is depleted by the war machine, many Russian cities rely on heating plants to supply hot water to residential building radiators. These systems are progressively deteriorating.
Eckels documents comparable tragedies in Vladivostok and, more crucially for Putin, in the suburbs of Moscow, where over 150,000 people have lost their heat. Although the Kremlin first attributed Moscow’s problems to the “anomalous” cold weather, Russian officials eventually responded by detaining executives of the nearby heating plant in response to numerous complaints from shivering citizens. These executives were Igor Rudyka, a former bodyguard for Putin, and Igor Kushnikov, a former agent of the Russian secret police.
As Eckels writes:
According to Systema, RFE/RL’s Russian investigative unit, the owners of the plant include the state industrial conglomerate Rostec and a Russian-Mexican crime boss. Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive officer of Rostec, was a KGB agent with Putin while they were stationed in East Germany.
These powerful people were still at large, and the people living in the Moscow region were still freezing.
And that’s it! Putin-style infrastructure! And we can anticipate more stories like that here if Trump, a Putin fanboy, wins the presidency and places his friends in charge of US infrastructure!