Russian winter claims more and more lives

43442.jpegMuch has been written about the intolerable "ice" situation in Saint Petersburg. Another tragedy has happened in the Northern capital of Russia: a famous choreographer, a coach of the school of sports reserve, 75-year-old Maya Andreeva, was killed in a winter accident.

The woman got under the wheels of a truck removing snow from the yard next to the sports school. She was quickly brought to the hospital where she died from the injuries.

The investigation of the famous choreographer's death was commenced. As reported to by the press-service of the administration of the Kalinin district of Saint Petersburg where the tragedy occurred, the investigation may result in a decision to initiate criminal proceedings. It was revealed that the block where Maya Andreeva was killed by a snow truck was still under construction and not under the control of any housing company. However, at the request of local residents the snow was removed by a local service company.

Also read: Snow and ice kill children in Moscow

It is hard to believe that the investigation will find the answer to the question "What to do about it?" This question has been raised by the media, public, and even the highest city authorities a number of times, and can be classified as rhetorical. Deaths caused by falling icicles or snow heaps have become a tragic tradition.  

On December 15 in the courtyard of the house number 79 on the Bolsheviks Avenue, a garbage truck that skidded on the snow-drifts killed a child on a sledge. According to witnesses, the parents were pulling the girl on a sled when the driver of the truck, not noticing the people at the turn, ran them over. The sled got under the rear wheels of the car. The parents of the dead girl were taken to hospital in a state of shock.

The cause of the tragedy, as it turned out during a preliminary investigation, were snow drifts. The parents and the child had to walk on the road because sidewalks were covered with 20 inches tall snowdrifts. Snow and sleet made the garbage truck skid.

The same day in Petrograd district of the northern capital cardiologist Irina Ganelina died under the wheels of a snow truck. The creator of the Soviet cardiac resuscitation, professor, she was known as the founder of the first specialized branch of infarction with intensive monitoring in the Soviet Union. She authored five books and over 150 scientific papers. She survived the siege of Leningrad.

St. Petersburg's authorities cannot be blamed for inaction towards the icicles and snow barricades. All criminal cases in connection with injuries and deaths resulting from falls of snow and ice in St. Petersburg are now placed under special control. Corresponding instructions were given to regional management of the Investigative Committee of Russia. In addition, all criminal cases will be transferred from the internal affairs to local government TFR.

Pavel Astakhov, Ombudsman for Children's Rights in the Russian President's Administration, interfered in the situation after the death of a six year old boy who was killed by an icicle that fell from the roof of a house in St. Petersburg. He sent a telegram to Governor Valentina Matvienko asking to organize the activities of public services and call the heads of the service companies to competent organization of work. Astakhov explicitly drew attention to the importance of educating parents and legal representatives of affected children about recovery of compensation for the harm inflicted. If the authorities cannot maintain security in the streets, they have to pay the victims.  

Meanwhile, Valentina Matvienko suggested creating a scientific and technical council to develop and implement innovative methods of fighting icicles and snowdrifts. She stated that St. Petersburg was a hub of innovation with a great scientific potential and must use modern methods for improving the city.

The Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg has passed a law to increase fines for a failure to clean icicles from the rooftops. The maximum fine for legal persons was increased from 250 to 500 thousand rubles. In addition, fines were introduced for officials in the amount of 30 to 50 thousand rubles, and for individuals in the amount of one to five thousand. The right to impose penalties was given to the district administrations. Hopefully, it will help.

Andrei Mikhailov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov