Putin called for continuing construction works despite pandemic

2020-04-20

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new set of business support measures. Among other things, he gave the governors recommendations not to freeze construction projects, but “find flexible solutions”. In other words, he encouraged to continue construction works despite the COVID-19 epidemic. Meanwhile, at the majority of Russian construction sites the simplest sanitary standards are not followed, and worker crowds are fertile ground for the infection spread. Still, business is business.

A construction site
A construction site

At a meeting on construction issues, the President said:

“I appeal to the regions leaders: when carrying out preventive measures, it is necessary to take into account the specifics of the construction industry, their continuous mode of operation, especially at key, vital facilities … I ask you to apply flexible solutions here, to find a balance. And this is possible, experts say. For this, it is only necessary to strictly comply with all requirements of labor safety, protecting the health of workers, and at the same time, you do not have to slow down the construction and freeze work”.

How to maintain this balance, the President did not explain. Putin’s recommendation is a good wish in the style of “don’t do bad, do good”. It does not contain any specific proposals, does not give at least general highlights on mechanisms for resolving the emerging problems. This appeal, like everything after March 25, has purely populist goals.

Meanwhile, the sanitary and epidemiological condition of most Russian construction sites is pitiful. Not to mention dormitories where hundreds of builders huddle. A worker from one of such construction sites near Moscow told our editorial office:

“All our protection is these masks. Workers get up and down between floors in elevators for twenty people. Everything is jam-packed. If someone brings infection, everyone goes down… People work like mad because they understand that soon there will be no more opportunity to earn extra money. Guys are joking gloomily: the chances of death from coronavirus is 5%, from hunger 100%”.

A construction site
A construction site

The avalanche of infections in the Russian Federation is growing day by day. Today’s statistics are 3,448 new cases of COVID-19. The government is actively using the current situation for its own purposes, but this does not reduce the danger of the epidemic.