Sayano-Shushenskaya Investigation Commission Finalizes Report
Members of the parliamentary commission looking into last August’s explosion at Russia’s largest hydroelectric power plant at Sayano-Shushenskaya, which left 75 workers dead, have reportedly agreed on the final version of their report. Secretary of the commission Yuri Lipatov has declared human error to be the main cause of the accident. President of the Gidroproyekt Asssociation Vladimir Shaitanov, who worked on the commission, tells RFE/RL that the accident could easily have been avoided: “They pushed it [a worn out generating unit] to the limit instead of removing it as they should have. Then when there was an accident with that one generator, it caused the rest to break.”
300 South Ossetian Families Waiting For Homes
Some 300 families in the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali are facing another winter in emergency housing due to the slow pace of reconstruction or construction of new housing, even though funds from the Russian federal budget have been allocated. “The construction has been delayed by checks and inspections," Zurab Kabisov, the head of the Committee for the Reconstruction of South Ossetia, tells RFE/RL. "What’s the point of conducting checks if there’s nothing to check?”
Russian Government Addresses Joblessness
The Russian government has allocated 37 billion rubles ($1.21 billion) for programs to help the growing number of unemployed. About 85 percent of the funds have been allocated to public works, while other funding will go toward retraining, relocation of workers and help starting private businesses. Discussing the effectiveness of the program with RFE/RL, Alena Kiseleva, an expert with the Institute for Integrated Strategic Studies, says, “It seems that first and foremost, the aim of the program is to defuse social unrest when there are layoffs at enterprises upon which towns depend."