Trillions for housing and communal services: how much will they steal?

Триллионы для ЖКХ: сколько украдут?

Mir Novosti has already written more than once this year about the communal disasters of the 2023-2024 heating season.

Vladimir Putin even took personal control of the situation with the shutdown of heat in Podolsk, near Moscow, in severe frost in 170 houses.

The state has taken unprecedented measures – by 2030 it has allocated 4.5 trillion rubles for the modernization of housing and communal services networks. The money is huge! But will they be spent wisely? Won’t they squander them on such a familiar patching of a rotten communal system, which needs major reconstruction from the nose, and not replacing old patches with new ones?


The decrease in temperature in the European part of the country in December-January to minus 25 degrees was a serious test for public utilities. Due to the breakthrough of the main heating main in Klimovsk, near Moscow, more than 40 thousand people were forced to sit without heat. Similar emergencies, but on a smaller scale, occurred in the suburbs of Dmitrov, Khimki, Solnechnogorsk and Elektrostal. The utility networks of Novosibirsk, Nakhodka, Engels, Vladivostok, Lipetsk, Tambov and Vladimir regions could not withstand the frosts…

The cold weather is gone, the frosts have long receded, and the problems have not gone away. Just look at the chronicle of accidents that occurred in April. So, in Cherepovets, 325 residential buildings and 55 social facilities turned out to be with cold batteries and without hot water. More than 50 thousand residents of Ussuriysk were left without utilities due to an accident on the networks. Rostov residents sat without hot water for two days in the Sovetsky district, but boiling water gushed out of the ground on the street. Residents of 84 houses in Novosibirsk were left without heating and hot water…


After the boiler house, which was given over to the cartridge plant, supplying a large residential district of Podolsk, on the night of January 4-5, the electricity was cut off and a water hammer occurred, damaging the boilers, and thousands of people began to freeze in their apartments, arrests took place. As part of the criminal case on the lack of heat in residential buildings, the court sent to jail the deputy head of the Podolsk administration, the head of the boiler room and the director of the Klimovsky specialized cartridge factory, which owned the boiler room.

On April 19, it became known about another person involved in the case, who, according to the investigation, was guilty of a communal collapse in Podolsk. Alexander Samarin has now been taken under house arrest. The ex-official is accused of being the Minister of Energy of the Moscow region, he knew that the heating networks in the city district needed urgent modernization, but did not do anything about it. Moreover, three months before the large-scale emergency in Klimovsk, he said that the work for the heating season had been completed in full and the Moscow region was fully ready for the upcoming winter.

Problems in the communal apartment are not new this year. The most striking thing is that no one knows exactly the scale of the problem. Some experts say that the wear and tear of communications is 50-60%, while others say that it is 100%. The Minister of Construction and Housing and Communal Services Irek Fayzullin says that the total wear of utility networks in Russia does not exceed 40%, and then adds that in some regions sewer and water supply networks are worn out by 85-95%. Which ones, I wonder?

A paradoxical situation has developed in one large Far Eastern city. Rosstat believes that it needs to change only 10% of heating networks, and the local fuel and energy complex estimates pipe wear at 93%! Neither of them have ever seen the pipes, but it is beneficial for some to embellish the picture, and for others to blacken it in order to get more money for repairs: the more they give to replace the infrastructure, the more they can put in their pocket.


It is theft that citizens are most afraid of when they hear how much the state is going to spend on a comprehensive reconstruction of the housing and communal services structure.

Hundreds of municipal and contractor organizations serve broken pipes, the maintenance of which in some towns takes more than half of the budget. When management companies work in close contact with local authorities, it is in the “communal apartment” that the biggest money is spinning. And there are dozens of simple schemes for cashing them out or withdrawing them to shell companies. So why would an official who has already stuck to such a feeder change something in the bud?

Another pressing question: even if we do not take into account the corruption component, will 4.5 trillion be enough to reconstruct the entire housing and communal services system in Russia?

State Duma deputy Oksana Dmitrieva says that the announced investments will not be enough. She proceeds from the fact that a few years ago it took about 6 trillion rubles to modernize housing and communal services systems, and since then materials have become more expensive, and even more networks have become unusable. Svetlana Razvorotneva disagrees with her colleague: “If all this phenomenal amount goes as intended, we will completely reconstruct the municipal utilities and solve all the existing problems in the housing and communal services system.” Optimistic, but unlikely. The word “if” negates all the optimism of the parliamentarian.

Anyway, 4.5 trillion rubles will be allocated to replace, and not to permanently patch up the destroyed housing and communal services infrastructure, and the elimination of long-standing problems will begin. However, there is no need to wait for a miracle – next winter, sadly, accidents are likely to continue…

Elena Khakimova



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