The supporters of one of the leading spiritual figures for Iraqi Shia decisively condemned the recent attack on Russian specialists in Iraq, as a result of which two Interenergoservis workers who were engaged in power plants' repairs in the country were killed and eight were wounded.
The Iraqi Az-Zaman newspaper carries in its today's issue a statement of the Imam Jawad Al-Khalasi Islamic Sciences University, which says: "Such actions do serious harm to the interests of the Iraqi nation. Russian specialists working in Iraq are very important participants in the process of the country's restoration. These actions do colossal harm to Iraqis' fight for restoration of their independence and sovereignty. They cannot be explained logically, as they are not the expression of Iraqi resistance in regard to the country's occupation." Iraqi Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samarrai expressed extreme regret to an Iraqi paper about what happened.
In his words, "the departure of Russian specialists who work at facilities of the country's electric energy industry will do enormous harm to the whole Iraqi energy sector." The newspaper says that discontent grows among Iraqis in connection with the energy crisis that was aggravated recently. Intervals when energy is cut off have increased due to local power plants being unable to cope with the increased load in conditions of early hot summer and due to continuing sabotage on power plants and terrorist acts against specialist working there.
Demand for gasoline and fuel oil, necessary for standalone electric power generators' operation, has greatly increased lately. Long queues of cars have appeared again at gas stations.
Interenergoservis management has severed its contract with Iraq and asked Russian authorities to evacuate all its workers. This decision was taken after another attack on Russian citizens. (On Wednesday, two Russians - Vyacheslav Ovsyannikov and Viktor Dynkin were killed, and several people were gravely wounded).
The overwhelming majority of Russians were evacuated from Iraq by special flights on board emergencies ministry aircraft. About 50 people wanted to stay in Iraq.
The fast departure of Russian specialists from Iraq means damages worth millions and severed contracts. For example, evacuation of engineers of Interenergoservis may develop into an energy crisis for the country's central part - from Fallujah to Iskanderia. Three power plants are to be commissioned by summer.
The employees who left Iraq will be replaced with other Russian specialists. Despite the explosions, firings and hostage taking, there are people in Russia willing to work in Iraq.
Three seats were reserved for one passenger in the aircraft, Sergei Brazhnikov. The flight took place under the supervision of a doctor - the Russian expert was wounded in the leg under unknown circumstances. American soldiers were the first to offer help: they delivered the Russian to a hospital for commissioned officers.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted immediately to the murder of Russian nationals. The Russian foreign ministry emphasized that the coalition authorities bear responsibility for the security of Russians in Iraq.
Among those specialists who decided to stay there are a lot of Russian Moslems, mainly from Tatarstan - a Russian republic on the Volga. They hope the coreligionists won't do them harm, and, as one of them said, "hope for Allah's will." Several Russian women who in their time married Iraqis who studied in the Soviet Union or Russia stayed in the country too.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers