Source How Alexander Beglov decided to fight winter in a new way for record money. As we know from modern history, snow in Russia is more than just snow. Especially in St. Petersburg. It has long acquired not white, but political overtones. One meme “Beglov's shovel” is worth something. And in the new season, Smolny decided to spend a record 30 billion rubles on snow removal. A curious nuance is how this amount is camouflaged for the press and residents.
Let's not joke that winter comes suddenly and all that. And about her constant “anomaly”. And without that, the residents of St. Petersburg over the past couple of decades have noticed that the removal of snow, ice, icing, “icicles” on the roofs is a rush and emergency mode. Therefore, the statement of the governor of the second capital, Alexander Beglov, to the deputies of the Legislative Assembly that a record 30 billion rubles are allocated for snow removal caused some bewilderment, and some sardonic laughter. Meanwhile, Smolny's plans are great – to create a new snow removal system. And big goals mean big money.
So, the governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov told the local parliament that “as early as January 2023 in St. Petersburg, the snow removal system will change. 15.2 billion will go to district administrations for the maintenance of territories, 10.9 billion – to housing agencies, a total of 4.3 billion – for the snowplows themselves.
The result is 30.6 billion. A record amount so far for the St. Petersburg budget in this sectoral position. It is clear that the amount, which was not sounded from the podium in its entirety, but was quickly calculated, still managed to impress. And her retouching and camouflage began. Smolninsk newspapers, and there are two of them that are distributed free of charge in the metro, operate with an amount of only 15 billion – about the “yards” that went to the administrations of the districts, and there are 18 of them in St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, it is curious that almost 11 billion went to housing agencies (ZhA) . These structures, in principle, are directly connected with the government of St. Petersburg (there are also 18 of them in the districts, respectively). As for snowplows, they are bought suspiciously regularly in St. Petersburg, and then, in the winter, as in a bearded joke about a firefighter – “I like my job, but like a fire – at least quit.” It breaks non-stop.
How the snowy “corpse” is thrown
There are nuances in snow removal in the northern capital that, in fact, affect the appearance of the city – from the Bronze Horseman to the courtyard on the outskirts in Murino. It turns out that several organizations deal with snow, and they are not very friendly. Here is what the source of the Nasha Versiya correspondent in Smolny said: “From the city government, the snow removal committee is engaged in the improvement committee, their workers are also called “road workers”, because they clean roads with the help of special vehicles. This is the most important thing for the appearance of the city and the normal functioning of its road arteries. But quarterly, intra-house zones are already clearing snow from ZHA with the help of their contractors – employees of housing services (ZhKS) and management companies (UK). This is where conflicts arise. Do you remember the scene from the old “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, when the corpse was on the border of two districts, and the operatives from both sides moved it with sticks to the neighbors so as not to hang a “capercaillie” on themselves? In our case, not everything is so black and white, but it looks like: “road builders”, when they travel by special transport, can, if there is too much snow (ice mass) (not to be processed), simply throw it into the yard, and this is the work of public utility janitors. But those, in turn, often dump their sandy waste on the roads during cleaning. Let machines clean, not hands. From the outside, it’s ridiculous, but there are also unaccounted for zonal territories within blocks, when no one is responsible for removing snow and ice at all. St. Petersburg has not yet been divided into zones of communal responsibility.
Since 2019, the meme “Beglov’s shovel” has been stuck to Governor Alexander Beglov. Recall that he called on the townspeople, as in Soviet times, to clear the yards of snow with their own hands and their shovels. And he showed an example, however, with a foreign-made shovel. So we haven't made our own for a long time. And the heads of 18 districts of the city, the poor, also had to pose with the “Beglov shovel” (the price tag for it in hypermarkets immediately quadrupled), depicting zeal, initiative, enthusiasm and a smile. But the fact is that in the northern capital there is more snow than snow. And general cleaning. And here is a two-fold point, which we will explain below. Perhaps, the sharpness began during the governorship of Valentina Matvienko – two consecutive winters of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 were rare in nature – snowfalls, ice, and smartphones have already begun to appear among the townspeople to document this. At the same time, the term “icicle” appeared. They hung menacingly – one icicle on Kondratievsky Prospekt, house 62 reached four meters! Scandals with the removal of snow and ice were repeated under the governor Sergei Poltavchenko, and so they reached Beglov. It is clear that he is just an official, but his PR services are clearly not up to the task of showing a tough guy who himself sets an example for couch critics of city cleaning. It looked comical. Or, as the PR people said in the topic, “it's just unprofessional, even the light was not the right one.” But the duality is precisely in the fact that the communal sphere has become public due to photographs. That is why criticism has become visual, visual. In Soviet times, there was not much material evidence of the poor performance of public utilities, except for memories. I will give a personal example, when in Leningrad there was a very cold winter of 1987/1988 (frost below thirty with precipitation and wild humidity). Ozerki district, I had to walk about half a kilometer to the bus to go to school. There was a lot of snow – you walk through snowdrifts up to your waist, and you are 8 years old, and it’s not only you who go to study, who to work, but no one cursed the public utilities janitors. As usual business. Although a small road took about half an hour. And then no one cursed the last in history head of the Leningrad regional committee (consider the governor in a modern way) Boris Gidaspov, there was simply no visual “proof”. And here is another nuance, which is pointed out by the St. Petersburg political scientist Vladimir Bolshekov: “The attitude towards services from public utilities in Soviet times was easier, because the cost of their services, which we saw in receipts, was a penny. And somehow no one hung “overhauls” on the population. It's a different matter now – we pay for landscaping, including snow removal, and a lot. We have the right to demand that such work be done with high quality.”
“Winter will show”
But now the governor of St. Petersburg has promised that from this year snow removal will be carried out in a completely new way, zonal, and only by city services. This is also stated on the official website of the city government, our certificate can be viewed below. However, no one was dragged by the tongue, at the same time, Smolny says that “management companies are responsible for cleaning courtyards and cleaning roofs from ice.” And the beautification committee is only for the roads. It turns out again twenty-five. A source in the housing committee of the city administration explained something: “The situation is simple – all the same organizations will go down to the courtyard areas as before, they will only change their name. And the beautification committee really received crazy money, how it will use it, the winter will soon show.”
The government of St. Petersburg, according to its official website, “purchased 1,186 units of equipment of Russian and Belarusian production, as well as more than 400 units of attachments for cleaning the intra-quarter territories. This is the largest purchase of municipal equipment in the modern history of St. Petersburg.
However, it is not said who exactly will bear financial and accounting responsibility for this equipment – the specific beneficiaries (firms) are still hidden.