2009 Highlights

Negative



April 27
The Tsaritsyno precinct police chief, 32-year-old Major Denis Yevsyukov, staged a massacre in southern Moscow. He murdered a cab driver who gave him a lift as well as a supermarket attendant and wounded several other people. In the wake of the tragic incident, Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin, and the chief of the district police department where Yevsyukov served were fired.

August 17
A disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant, one of the largest Russian hydroelectric power generators, claimed 75 lives and caused heavy damage to equipment and facilities. The plant remains shut down and the accident caused considerable environmental damage as well as adverse social and economic consequences for the region. An investigation concluded that the immediate cause of the accident was metal fatigue in the pins that secured the top of the turbine. When the pins gave way the top was torn off and the engine room was flooded.
The incident was the biggest disaster in the hydropower sector in Russia’s history, as well as one of the worst such accidents to ever occur internationally.

November 18
The Russian national football team lost to Slovenia in the selection tournament for the 2010 World Cup. For the second time in a row, Russia will be absent from the biggest football event on the planet.

November 27
The high speed Moscow-St Petersburg Neva Express train derailed, killing 26 people and injuring more than 90. Among the dead were several top-ranking government officials, prominent businessmen and two pregnant women. The investigation is proceeding on the theory that it was a terrorist attack.

December 5
A fire at The Lame Horse night club in Perm claimed more than 140 lives. Preliminary data links the tragedy to a breach of fire safety rules, notably the use of pyrotechnical devices indoors. The incident saw the largest death toll of any fire in Russian history. The government of the Perm Territory resigned in response to the tragedy.

Positive



April 16
Counterterrorist operations in Chechnya ceased on the President’s order. All restrictions extant under the counterterrorist regime were abolished and the Republic now enjoys the same rights as any other Russian region.

April 22
LiveJournal introduced President Dmitri Medvedev’s personal blog. The online presence allowed the President to continue his direct communication with the public after calling for greater openness on the part of the leaders. Speaking in a video trailer released on the site he said: “The Internet has recently developed into a fully-fledged self-regulating system, which has a strong impact on every aspect of our lives. Social systems and blogs are at the forefront.”

May 10
The Russian hockey team won the world title for the second year in a row, an event unprecedented in the country’s recent history. The last time our team won the gold was in 1993.

August
Russia registered population growth for the first time recently. “During the month of August 151,700 children were born and 150,700 people died. For the first time in the last 15 years, August 2009 registered a natural population growth of 1000,” said Tatyana Golikova, the Minister of Healthcare and Social Development.

September
There are signs that the Russian economy is slowly moving out of the crisis. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said: “I confirm that in the third quarter the economy and GDP registered quarter-on-quarter growth over the second quarter of 2009. We can say that we are emerging from recession.” Previously, statistics showed GDP growth of 7.5% in the second quarter over the first quarter.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.