GENERICO.ruEconomicsRepairing the failure: how the country's housing and communal services turned into a black financial hole

Repairing the failure: how the country's housing and communal services turned into a black financial hole

The results of the housing and communal reform are as brilliant as ice frozen after a sewerage break

“Where it is thin, it breaks,” says popular wisdom. Judging by the latest news, we have the most subtle problems in the housing and communal services sector. The attention of society and authorities today is focused on accidents in the Moscow region, primarily in Podolsk. Which, in the words of the authors of the famous comedy, is not entirely fair to other areas, “where exactly the same story could have happened.” And in fact, not only could it, but it is happening.

The results of the housing and communal reform are as brilliant as ice frozen after a sewerage break

“We actually continue to be killed by the cold,” residents of the village of Novozavidovsky (Tver Region) report in their video message to the President of Russia. “We don’t seem to have any fighting here, but we live like in besieged Leningrad… In our rooms the temperature is plus four – plus 10 degrees… In order not to die, we heat ourselves with everything we can… Vladimir Vladimirovich, tell me: it’s true that now all the officials responsible for this are sitting in their warm and cozy homes, and we, our children , old people, are we afraid of freezing to death?

According to the freezing Novozavidovites, before this they asked for help from the regional governor and the head of the Konakovo municipal district, but this did not give any result. That’s why we decided to appeal directly to the head of state – “as a last resort.”

And here is information from the St. Petersburg online publication “Fontanka”: “Our readers are reporting more and more new addresses where St. Petersburg residents live, suffering either without water or without heat.” Moreover, “frost emergencies” in St. Petersburg are actually flowers in comparison with how the Leningrad region is suffering,” the publication notes. “In gardens, villages, cottage communities, people spend the winter without electricity and heat…” And such rubbish happens all day long all over the country. Perhaps there is not a single region in Russia where there are no such disaster zones.

How can one not recall the old joke about a “dissident” plumber who went to jail because, upon being summoned by the regional party committee and realizing the scale of the problem, he said: “Eh, it’s not just the faucet, the whole system needs to be changed.” It is obvious that the problem is systemic. And it is obvious that the problem is not being solved, but is only getting worse.

But how well it all started – with the housing and communal services reform! Well, that is, at the beginning the situation, of course, was also far from ideal. But they promised us almost paradise. In order to better remember these promises, here is the text of one of the advertisements with the help of which the reformers – the Fund for Assistance to Housing and Communal Services Reform, created in 2007 – convinced the population to relax and enjoy what they were going to do to them.

< p>“Well, look what the house in which you and your family live looks like,” these compassionate, sweet-voiced sirens lamented. “The house is deteriorating, there are cracks here and there, and the tariffs for trouble are rising. But reform is already coming to us! Get up and fix it.” order itself! Stop blaming the officials – we need to start changing the approach. Take power yourself quickly. Rule – after all, you are part of the reforms. Take control of your home and live comfortably – like a king!” The only obvious “royal” result of the reform is royal spending on “utilities”, which the “common people” who did not live in palaces 15-20 years ago could not even dream of in a nightmare. Yes, average incomes also increased during this time, but incomparably more modestly than the figures in payments for housing and communal services. Moreover, the pace of this figure has not slowed down at all: it is still vigorously rushing upward, outpacing the growth of wages, pensions, and benefits.

The arguments in favor of this rapid growth are exactly the same as at the beginning of the reform: the colossal wear and tear of everything in the country's public utilities – boiler houses, heating mains, water and gas pipelines, sewer collectors, etc., etc. And accordingly, the need for astronomical investments in this area. Otherwise, they say, it will be terrible. No, not like that – horror, horror, horror.

But the further, the more this persuasion resembles the famous musical “advertising” with the help of which Alice the Fox and Basilio the Cat seduced the inexperienced and naive investor Pinocchio: “Bring your money – otherwise there will be trouble.” In our case, the investment results are approximately the same: there are troubles, but no money. Money, as at the beginning of the reform, is sorely lacking.

Where is the money, gentlemen reformers? And where are the promised brilliant results of the reform? Shiny, let us clarify, not in the form of ice frozen after breaks in sewers, heating mains and water pipelines. And don’t say that if something goes wrong, if in some places we sometimes have breakthroughs and failures, then the crooked “utility” businessmen are to blame for everything, who, despite the high trust placed in them, invest not in replacing rotten pipes, but in tropical resorts and other pleasures of life.

Firstly, this business is so specific, so intertwined with the bureaucracy – at least local, municipal, and even higher – that it is similar to the “servants of the people” to the point of confusion . In fact, this is one of the forms of power. And secondly, the reform did not begin at the request of the working people. The workers of this reform – this particular one, in this form, and not reform in general – as they say, did not order.

Responsibility for the consequences lies primarily with those who invented and nurtured the system that turned the public utility sector into a bottomless financial black hole. Well, that is, they must carry it. Life for such categories of citizens in our country, as a rule, turns out to be much more generous and merciful than what they imagine. So these citizens and their protégés have every chance to continue raising funds to repair the failure.

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