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Court acknowledges officials' criminal negligence in southern Russia

August 20, 2013, 12:26 UTC+3

The court believes that the former officials had ignored warnings and did not consider measures to prevent dangerous consequences of the Krymsk flood in 2012

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KRYMSK /Krasnodar Territory/, August 20 (Itar-Tass) - The Abinsk District Court in the Krasnodar Territory acknowledged on Tuesday that inaction and negligence of four officials resulted in many fatalities during the flood in the town of Krymsk last year.

Head of the Krymsky district municipality Vasily Krutko, head of Krymsky urban area Vladimir Ulanovsky, head of the Nizhnebakansky settlement Irina Ryabchenko and acting head of the emergencies and civil defense department of the Krymsky district Viktor Zhdanov are in the prisoner's dock.

The verdict reading began on Monday. As the Tuesday session opened, the judge read the evidence given by meteorologists of the regional weather forecasting center. They testified that storm warning telegrams had been sent to all the municipalities, including the Krymsk district.

The court believes that the former officials had ignored these warnings and did not consider measures to prevent dangerous consequences. They also failed to take measures to evacuate the local population to safer areas.

“On Tuesday, the judge will read the testimony of the defendants’ deputies, an official at the court’s office said. “It will clarify the defendants’ actions during the flood.”

In the course of the trial which began on May 15, the court has questioned more than 2,500 witnesses. The court also acknowledged 137 persons as injured parties.

Krutko, Ulanovsky and Ryabchenko were accused of forgery in office and negligence, and Zhdanov was accused of negligence and attempted fraud.

The criminal case comprises over 200 volumes. More than 400 expert examinations were carried out.

The prosecutor for the state, Alexander Polyakov had demanded six years in prison for Vasily Krutko, 3.5 years for Vladimir Ulanovsky, and 4.5 years and an 80,000-ruble fine for Viktor Zhdanov. He asked for a 3.5-year suspended sentence for Irina Ryabchenko.

The investigators said Krutko, Ulanovsky, Ryabchenko and Zhdanov had known about a possible emergency in the area but issued no warning to the population and took no measures to evacuate people to safer districts. Zhdanov is also accused of attempted fraud in lumpsum compensation to flood victims. He put his name on the list of the persons eligible to compensation, although his house had not been in the flood zone.

During the Krymsk flood on July 6-7, 2012, 153 people died, and several were seriously injured.

"On top of that, Korsakov, Ulanovsky and Ryabchenko ordered their subordinates to draw official documents alleging that they had taken all the proper measures to combat the emergency. Specifically the document records that the district crisis commission had issued a warning to the population and made efforts towards evacuation," the investigators said. The document was backdated, they added.

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