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Kemerovo Mall Fire Victims Remembered A Year After Deadly Blaze In Siberia

Sixty people were killed in the fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on March 25, 2018.

The Russian city of Kemerovo is remembering the victims of a fire that swept through a busy mall on a Sunday afternoon one year ago and killed 60 people, including 37 children.

Somber residents of the Siberian city brought flowers, stuffed toys, and other mementos to a makeshift memorial to victims of the March 25, 2018, fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) mall.

Volunteers were planning to release 60 white balloons into the sky to commemorate those killed in the blaze, one of the deadliest in Russia since the Soviet collapse of 1991.

In accordance with Russian Orthodox Church tradition, it is important to commemorate deceased people nine days, 40 days, and one year after their deaths.

The deadly fire was just the last in a long series of disasters in Russia caused or exacerbated by the corrosively deadly effects of negligence, carelessness, corruption, corner-cutting, and crumbling infrastructure.

Residents, relatives of the victims, and Russians nationwide blamed corruption and government negligence for the high number of casualties.

Days after the fire, investigators said that blocked fire exits, an alarm system that was turned off, and "glaring violations" of safety rules before the blaze started led to the high death toll.

A total of 15 people have been charged with crimes that investigators said led to or aggravated the tragedy.

Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said on March 25 that investigations into seven suspects are complete and their cases were sent to the prosecutor's office to determine the final charges.

Petrenko also said that a co-owner of the Zimnyaya Vishnya mall, Vyacheslav Vishnevsky, has been arrested in Poland and his extradition is pending.

Vishnevsky is suspected of bribing local officials to ignore violations of construction standards and fire safety regulations when the mall was being renovated in 2013-14.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and RIA Novosti
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