A week before the explosion at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station, the Russian authorities allowed not to investigate accidents at hazardous facilities that occurred as a result of "military actions" and terrorist attacks, including in the occupied territories that Russia considers its own. The document dated May 30 was published on the official Internet portal of legal information.
The decree, signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, came into force from the day it was published, that is, from May 31.
So, in the government decree No. 873 “On the specifics of the application in the territories of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye region and Kherson region of the provisions of the legislation of the Russian Federation in the areas of industrial safety of hazardous production facilities and ensuring the safety of hydraulic structures” there is the last, tenth, paragraph on accidents. According to it, “until January 1, 2028, a technical investigation of accidents at hazardous production facilities and accidents of hydraulic structures that occurred as a result of hostilities, sabotage and terrorist acts is not carried out.”
The document also contains clauses stating that until September 1, 2023 and until March 1, 2024, at facilities in the "DPR, LPR", Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, part of the paragraphs of the Federal Law "On industrial safety of hazardous production facilities" and "On safety of hydraulic structures”.
As Ilya Shumanov, director of Transparency International Russia, told The Insider, each facility is assigned its own hazard class and, based on this, it is supervised: either at the level of the territorial department of Rostekhnadzor, or by federal authorities, if it is a higher hazard class.
“Each facility that falls under this criterion and is assigned a hazard class must develop a declaration that assumes that the requirements are met - that you have an evacuation plan, procedures, contact details, inspections, trained specialists, a license to work, and so on.
In the conditions of hostilities, no one will make these declarations in the occupied territories, because objects pass from hand to hand. There is no design documentation for the facilities. You need to re-develop, watch, study, conduct an examination. And if a couple of shells also hit him ... This even applies to some flour production plant, not to mention oil extraction sites and similar structures. This applies to all critical infrastructure facilities.”
According to Shumanov, the cancellation of the article of the declaration of safety of hydraulic structures can be adopted not in order to hide the accident, but because it is not possible to issue these declarations due to the lack of project documents. He recalled that the Ukrainian specialists evacuated and took the documents with them. And those who have to serve the station do not know the capacity of the facility, what it is connected to, they do not have trained specialists.
To the question of whether it is possible to interpret as evidence after the explosion at the hydroelectric power station the point that technical investigations of accidents at hazardous production facilities are not carried out until January 1, 2028, Shumanov replied: “Yes and no.” He explained that now there are no formed executive authorities and conditional territorial administration of Rostekhnadzor for the Kherson region and Zaporozhye.
“I don’t know if they have personnel who can carry out these checks. I think no. And in general, is it realistic to send people to a war zone to investigate accidents? A commission arrives in the frontline zone and begins to investigate the object - this is simply life-threatening and not very advisable, because the object is in the combat zone and tomorrow it may suffer additional damage. In addition, perhaps the cadres themselves simply do not want to get under the bullets.
In fact, the law was adopted on time to remove responsibility from the people who now make management decisions there. Any man-made accident and the failure to take measures to eliminate this accident or the failure to investigate by officials is a criminal liability for them, emphasizes Shumanov.
“They are so insured so that they would not be told: “You have a bunch of dangerous facilities destroyed here, accidents have occurred on them, and you are not taking any action.”
He also added that the Investigative Committee can come to these territories and it will have grounds for initiating criminal cases against those who operate these facilities, against executive authorities represented by the administration of the "LPR, DPR", Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and representatives of Rostekhnadzor .
“If some objects with different hazard classes were destroyed, then there has never been such a large-scale one as the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station. There was a lot of talk about this, but there was no undermining of this magnitude. Apparently, people had access to information that such an undermining would take place, so the legislation was brought into line in advance so that there would be no questions for them .”
Shumanov also stressed that it really happens from time to time that a government decree repeals a federal law. In Russia, according to him, the executive authorities have more resources than the legislature. For example, similar things were allowed to do during the coronavirus epidemic, regional authorities were allowed not to submit declarations, this is “a direct intrusion into the competence of the federal legislative authorities.”
On the morning of June 6, the Ukrainian operational command "South" announced that Russian troops had blown up the dam of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station. The occupying authorities of Novaya Kakhovka reported that at about 2 a.m. there were attacks on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, but it was not specified from whose side. Ukrhydroenergo claims that the Kakhovskaya HPP is completely destroyed and cannot be restored. The Russian state agency TASS writes that half of the spans of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station have already collapsed, the collapse continues.
Adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak said on the Breakfast Show that, according to Ukrainian intelligence, the 205th motorized rifle brigade of the Russian Armed Forces had blown up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky is holding an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.