More than 100 dead in Russia nightclub fire, even Putin showed up
Last week I wrote that it would be wise if the Russian Prime Minister visited the site of derailment of the Nevsky Express passenger train on its way from Moscow to St. Petersburg. That crash, which investigators blame on terrorists, killed 26 people and raised fears of a new wave of terror attacks in Russia's heartland. I am not devoured by curiosity on reasons why Mr Putin failed to make in his appearance there. By matter of chance another opportunity arose soon for the Russian Premier to display his care-laden physiognomy and practice studying people’s needs at the scene.
It was another tragedy that shocked Russia last weekend. The Lame Horse nightclub caught fire in the city of Perm, where more than 250 people were enjoying themselves. As a result, 113 were killed and 130 injured. The nightclub was packed with flammable materials, and the tinderkeg-dry wooden ceiling was the first part of the room to ignite, causing a deadly rain of fire.
This time the authorities do not blame the Chechen terrorists for the disaster. Local officials said there was no bomb involved and the fire appeared to have been caused by ‘cold fireworks’ which spray sparks at lower temperatures than traditional fireworks. Authorities say the ceiling of specific wooden construction, the indoor use of fireworks and the single narrow exit were strictly against fire codes and other laws. Having regard of compulsory regular fire inspections, many have little doubt that notorious Russian blur of corruption has to be factored into explanations of the nightclub tragedy.
It’s not only Russians who make mistakes violating fire-prevention regulations. Various tragedies do happen the world over around Christmas and during other major celebrations because of someone’s irresponsible decision to use fireworks inside a building. Though Russians themselves freely admit that “there is a criminal levity toward life, one’s own and the lives of others, that prevails in this country”, as political scientist Alexei Makarkin puts it.
This time the Russian Prime Minister did not miss an opportunity to visit the site of a major accident and lay red roses at the burnt down building. It makes me think that those were simply security reasons why Mr Putin showed up there in such an late hour, at 2 a.m.local time, two days after the tragedy...