Thursday, March 28, 2013
Political price will be paid in Kyiv as a result of snow paralysis
Exceptionally heavy snowfalls and bad weather conditions have caused chaos in Kyiv these last few days - the city has all but ground to a halt. There are warnings that floods could occur if the weather turns quickly.
The performance of municipal services has been shambolic. Many routes have been impassable for days and public transport services heavily curtailed. Elected city officials have provided no leadership and given little coherent public service information to the residents of the city.
Many of the city residents are aware how such problems are dealt with in Western urban centres including those in North America.
There, elected officials make it a priority to provide honest, accurate advice with constant updates in the mass media whenever such extraordinary meteorological events take place. Municipal workers put in extra shifts and do their utmost to help alleviate the situation. Additional temporary personnel are frequently employed. Smart politicians take the opportunity to openly declare the measures they are taking to deal with the crisis situation to provide assurance. The public don't care that this may be PR - they just want to know that elected officials and city employees are doing their best on their behalf.
Kyiv residents are feeling really angry that they have been let down both by the state and the city administrations. This anger may well surface in days to come as part of the reaction to the Ukrainian government's nonchalant attitude to opposition demands that timely mayoral elections take place in the city.