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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Supposed "Energy Superpower" Russia Makes its Officers Live in Squalor

The Moscow Times reports on how Russia isn't using its alleged oil revenue windfall:

Nadya, her husband and their 2-year-old son share a room big enough for an inflatable mattress and a television set in a nondescript military dormitory in Moscow.

They are one of 20 families on the floor. Outside each door is a trash can and slippers. Everyone shares two bathrooms with walls that are peeling and stained from flooding. In the morning, children stand in line and anxiously wait to use the facilities. The women prefer to cook at night, when it's easier to find a free burner in the common kitchen (pictured above).

Nadya's family is one of 157,800 families of current or retired army officers across the country stuck in housing purgatory: As they wait for the Defense Ministry to provide them with the adequate apartments they are entitled to or, at least, housing certificates, they must live in temporary and crowded quarters.

Residents enjoy little privacy. Some servicemen are unable to rent rooms of their own, making it impossible for families to stay together. Like the Moscow region facility that burned down last week, killing eight, the dormitories reek of neglect.

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