On the 5th of April, a large fire ripped apart a toy shop in Russia’s Tyumen region. No injures were reported but all of the shop’s inventory is thought to have been destroyed. According to Sputnik, “Twenty-six units of special equipment and 67 employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations took part in extinguishing the fire and eliminating its consequences”.
This is now the sixth fire to rip through a large public use facility in Russia in just over two weeks.
Yesterday, The Persei shopping centre in Eastern Moscow experienced a substantial blaze as firefighters had to use helicopters in order to control a blaze which broke out on the morning of April the 4th .
В Москве горит ТЦ «Персей для детей» pic.twitter.com/8q5ORvyOyK
— #MDK (@mudakoff) April 4, 2018
The Persei shopping centre fire has already claimed the life of one shopping centre worker while six firefighters have been injured. According to a statement from the Russian Emergencies Ministry,
“During the investigation, a dead employee was found. According to the administration, he was confused about the direction of the evacuation exit and moved to a smoky zone”.
On the 18th of March, an inferno gutted a shopping centre in the Siberian town of Kemerovo. The blaze killed 64, including many children.
On the 19th of March, fire broke out on the top levels of an apartment tower in the Chechen capital Grozny.
Then on the 20th, a large fire burnt through a car dealership in St. Petersburg.
On the 30th of March, a fire raged through a psychiatric hospital outside of Moscow, forcing a mass evacuation of staff and patients.
The proximity in time of six major fires at large public structures in Russia is looking less and less coincidental. While President Putin blamed the deadly Kemerovo fire on “criminal negligence”, the increasingly regular occurrence of fires in large public buildings in Russia may be due to more than traditional definitions of negligence.
It is also of note that during a Moscow memorial for the victims of the Kemerovo fire, some agitators associated with the extremist criminal Alexei Navalny chanted hateful slogans about the Russian government. At minimum, turning a memorial for the victims of a tragedy into an unsanctioned extremist rally is a grossly despicable offence to common decency. However, given the fact that this week has see large fires in different regions of the Russian Federation, one must necessarily question whether there is some calculated foul play at hand?
В Москве горит ТЦ «Персей для детей. По предварительным данным, пожар начался на четвертом этаже. О пострадавших пока не сообщается https://t.co/YTpeAHaJ3M pic.twitter.com/4NvNG569gm via @oldLentach #Россия
— Liveuamap По-русски (@liveuamapru) April 4, 2018
There must be an urgent investigation into why so many similar fires have broken out in similar structures throughout various cities and regions of Russia all within an incredibly short span of time. This could easily be the work of a united group of arsonists, copy-cat arsonists or more worrying, the work of a political terrorist organisation or state sponsored terrorism.
It behoves the Russian authorities to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.