June 14, 2015
by Aleksandr Rodzhers
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Everyone who writes about the fiery messes around Kiev or in Kiev itself is treating these events in a humorous fashion. Of course, the official terms such as “firefighting through burnout” and “predictable explosions” can’t help but provoke such reactions.
But in actuality it’s not simply a matter of a few coincidences combined with a clueless reaction, but the reflection of the already discussed by me trend toward a general collapse. I’ll try to lay it out in greater detail.
The worst of the firefighter and emergency response incompetence is not even their inability to put out fires, but in that the fires cost lives, both of firefighters and of civilians.
What really stands out is the complete impoverishment of these services, the complete absence of necessary equipment and other key aspects of their profession. Everyone is giggling at the “they are fighting oil fire with water.” Because they have nothing else. When asked why they used water, one official said that all the foam and powder firefighting slurries were used up when putting out the Maidan fires…
That was a year and a half ago. And nobody concerned themselves over that entire time to produce or procure the necessary firefighting solutions. A YEAR AND A HALF, Karl!
The reason for this is not only the sloppiness of incompetent managers of the Zoryan Shkiryak type (although that played a role too) who think that an official position entitles you to sit in your office and play at corruption. It’s also the banal lack of money.
Want more examples? There are plenty! Avakov said that the MVD would bring up firefighting tanks. Anyone seen these tanks? No? And why is that? Because, apparently, they no longer in working order and nobody is about to repair them.
I won’t even mention the firefighting helicopters which ought to be available to put out fires in any sizable forest.
Yet in the space of a week we have seen a fire of an oil depot, a rubberized foam storage facility, several peat fires, forest fires, the fires on the Trukhanov Island and even in the Park of Friendship of Nations (since there’s no friendship, who needs the park!).
So: there is no equipment, there is no money, no oxygen for firefighting suits, no money to repair or replace any of it. Therefore everything continues to burn, and people continue to die.
But that’s the situation in Kiev and the Kiev District where traditionally things are better than in other places. So what is happening in the regions? It’s frightening to even try to imagine.
For example, there was recently a powerful explosion in Vinnitsa which was heard in the entire city. But none of the government representatives even tried to calm down the city population for two days after the the event by explaining what actually blew up (as a result the city is full of panicky rumors about a mercury leak).
The problems are not limited only to the firefighter management, the wear and tear of equipment, the lack of spare parts, they are evident in all the directorates. I’m sure everyone has heard of the story with Shkiryak’s plane in Katmandu. The Ukrainian military is not an exception.
I recently read the most recent UAF “artillery soldier’s notes” in which he complains that he has to dismantle the most heavily worn out equipment in order to use it for spare parts to maintain slightly less worn out equipment, in other words, make one gun out of two. I can’t help but be pleased by this information (the more of it breaks down, the less can be used to shell Donbass cities). But, nevertheless, it’s yet another indicator of the collapse.
The situation in the utilities is no better. Just yesterday a hot water pipeline burst in Kiev, on the Troyeshchina, and the twenty-meter hot water geyser washed the adjacent nine-story building for an hour, breaking most of its windows and soaking everything inside.
It’s a general collapse. Not only in the economy, not only in the wearing out of infrastructure, not only in the state agency inability to cope, but also in the absence of qualified personnel, the inability to think through and analyze the possible consequences of specific actions. That’s why we don’t call it an economic crisis, but a systemic one because it afflicts not only the economy and finance, but all the systems of the Ukrainian state.