As Russia Burns, Cover-Ups and Neglect Ignites Political Spot Fires

"MOSCOW: Russia's record hot summer of forest fires and resulting air pollution has left the reputations of its politicians badly scorched.

Public anger is mounting at state neglect that allowed the fires to spread and at a cover-up of the number of resultant deaths from heatstroke.

Since late June, Russia has baked in temperatures more usual in the outback. The heat sparked forest and peat bog fires across the country and the smoke settled as a blanket of poisonous smog over Moscow.

As deaths mounted, doctors were told to massage the statistics. ''We received the order not to use the diagnosis 'heatstroke'. We were told that the statistics for heatstroke were mounting up,'' one doctor told the Russian news agency Interfax."
Helen Womack reports for the Sydney Morning Herald August 17, 2010.


"The Kremlin's Smokescreen" (Der Spiegel)

"Russia's Medvedev Asks Tycoons For Wildfire Help" (Reuters)

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 08/17/2010