September 1, 2014 22:30

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Editorial: weapons do not forgive

12.10.12 15:03    By Gazeta.ru editorial

The Russian militarys response to Emergecy situations does not differ in any way from its responses in the civil sphere. In both situations the authorities do not learn any lessons from previous accidents. Therefore, the same type of tragedy repeats over and over again. The recent explosion at the military site in the Orenburg region reflects the real condition of the constantly reforming Russian army.

Photo: ITAR-TASS


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The explosion of four thousand tons of ammunition on October 9 at the Donguzskiy military site in the Orenburg region has been traced to the guilty party. Soldier Alexander Kasatkin admitted that it was his careless smoking that led to the accident.

The soldier who, according to some media, was tortured by conscience confirmed the theory that was originally put forward by investigators. 

Earlier the military prosecutor of the Central Military Command (CVO) Yevgeny Ivanov listed the causes which might have caused the explosion. Among them he mentioned smoking and careless handling of fire, as well as violation of munitions. 

Russian Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky said that his staff had previously warned the Central Military District Command of the threat of unauthorized bombings in the Donguz district and even addressed court so that it would ban all explosive works there.

But as a matter of fact, everything in Russia happens according to the Russian saying "until the thunder breaks," that is nothing is done unless something really bad happens. And even when bad things happen, all the authorities do is try to find the guilty party , forgetting to eliminate the cause of the accident. 

In November 2009 two ammunition explosions happened in one of the military sites in the city of Ulyanovsk, killing several. After that tragedy, then-president Dmitry Medvedev sacked four high-ranking military officials. In May 2012 an explosion took place at the Ashuluk site in the Astrakhan region. Three weeks earlier ammunition exploded at the Miulino military site in Nizhegiridskiy region. Several days later an artillery warehouse caught fire in the Spassky district of Primorskiy region …

And after each explosion we found out that soldiers smoked near the shells, and officers were not controlling anything.

There are mountains of weapons in Russia, but unfortunately miitary staff has not learnt how to get rid of them properly.
In this sense the military reform which is usually assessed and criticized from the position of army's military, has failed in the imposition of the elementary regulations of order. The control over ammunition utilisation does not differ from managing, say, the flooing in the Krasnodar region where 10 years after a devastating flood with hundreds of victims, nothing was done to prevent the tragedy in Krymsk. 

Russia cannot independently and safely make use of its own weapons. At the same time it refuses any foreign aid. In addition to this, Moscow has announced plans to stop the U.S.- led program "Nunn-Lugar" to eliminate Russia's nuclear weapons,  "Kommersant" paper reported recently. 

According to the paper's source in the State Department, Russia has declared that it no longer needs financial aid from the USA and that it can take all financial responsibilities to get rid of its nuclear arsenal. 

According to Russia, while running the Nunn-Lugar program there were "important information" leaks to the USA. At the same time Russia's Defense ministry admitted that the program "helped save a lot of money."

From 1992 to 2012, the U.S. spent more than $ 8 billion to help Russia in the utilization of its weaponry. During that period of time, it deactivated more than 7.5 thousand strategic nuclear warheads, eliminated about 1 thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles, and hundreds of other types of missiles, more than 100 bombers and hundreds of launchers, nearly three tons of chemical weapons. 

One could say that the Americans had direct military and political interest, but the Russian authorities do not finance themselves enough to adequately dispose of nuclear weapons, at least, according to the Defense Ministry. 

If Russia cannot properly eliminate common artillery ammunition just like it was in the Orenburg region, there can be no guarantees that a far more frightening tragedies will not happen. 

A basic sloppiness against aggressive foreign policy rhetoric of the Russian authorities, and activating searches of foreign agents in the country becomes a explosive mix for Russia - sometimes literally.

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