Bloggers bitter over Chile mine rescue in tragedy-hit Russia
The hitch-free rescue of the Chilean miners sparked envy in Russia on Thursday, with a host of bloggers wondering why their country did not have a similar success story after a string of tragedies.
The last Russian mining catastrophe in May took the lives of 90 miners and rescue workers at the Raspadskaya mine near Mezhdurechensk, in southern Siberia, with safety breaches blamed for the disaster.
President Dmitry Medvedev said in a message to his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera that the operation is "proof that any, even the most difficult challenges can be successfully overcome by the will and courage of people united by the same goal."
But bloggers took a far more cynical line, asking whether the Russian leadership was capable of organising an operation of the kind that brought the Chilean miners to the surface.
"I am in awe of how everything was organised, thought out and executed... The country's president was at the site of the rescue operation. That says something," said blogger feliks160653 on the LiveJournal blogging site.
"That's far from racing on a Lada Kalina car or pirouetting on a plane," he added, referring to recent media stunts by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "It's called caring about people!" he wrote.
Putin personally took controls of a plane used to put out wildfires this summer as the European part of the country was engulfed in flames in record heatwave. He then toured Siberia in a yellow Lada.
Russian bloggers have long mocked the response of the authorities to the heatwave crisis where officials were slow to react to spreading wildfires in the middle of the summer holidays.
"The miner rescue operation is completed in Chile, greatly helped by the fact that (Russian Emergencies Minister) Sergei Shoigu did not participate in it," wrote blogger xeyrulla on his LiveJournal blog.
The miners in Chile were lifted to the surface after spending nine weeks 700 metres below the surface after a cave-in in early August.
Russians recalled the sinking of Kursk submarine in the northwestern Barents sea on August 12th, 2000, a disaster which also gripped the entire world for weeks.
The boat was raised only on August 21 after Moscow waited four days before accepting foreign aid in the operation. All 118 crew members were dead.
When asked what happened to the Kursk in September 2000, Putin infamously replied: "It sank." After the sinking, Putin, who was president at the time, waited five days before he interrupted his vacation.
"Recall Putin and Kursk ... - 'it sank'. Here there are different people, a different president -- and there you have the rescue," said a commentary from blogger dvim posted under the article in Gazeta.ru online newspaper.
"Something tells me that the Chilean president will be elected for another term without vote rigging and bribing of the voters," added LiveJournal blogger piligrim_67.
© 2010 AFP