During the day of February 25, in Vorkuta, at the Severnaya mine, an explosion resonated at a depth of 780 m – an explosion of methane. At the time of the incident there were 110 persons on the mine’s premises, 80 of which were successfully evacuated. 30 persons died. Only four of them were transported to the surface. Later, in the night from February 27 to 28, another explosion sounded out, as a result of which an additional 5 mountain-rescuers and one explosives engineer, an employee at the mine, died.
At a first glance, the whole tragedy can be written off as a bit of sensationalism, which there was no way of preventing.
However, there are many signs of the contrary.
Severnaya mine is owned by the company Vorkutaugol’, a daughter-company of the giant Severstal’, which in recent times has been active in giving out funds for safety system ameliorations of all of Vorkuta’s mines. There are currently 4 operational mines in the city without counting Severnaya (in Soviet times there were 14), and they all belong to the company Vorkutaogol’. The mother-companies of the mines needed to fake that all the money really went toward the modernization of the mines’ safety systems, rather than in the pockets of the bourgeoisie.
On February 11, Severnaya miners noticed that the gasometer sensors are showing higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide and methane inside the mine:
Foto made a few days before the incident by one of the killed miners.
2,55% – is the indicator of methane, which exceeds the norm by a fourth. In such conditions, mine work must be immediately halted; however, the mine’s management requires the workers to cover the sensors with padded jackets and wet cloths, so that the indicators would be lowered and work could continue. The miners, in their place, were not able to show sufficient resistance toward this outrage – there is little work in the city, and losing this job is in no one’s plans. A few of them were allowed to transfer to another mine, Vorkutinskaya (which is also distinguished by high gas-levels), after they were offered the choice: “To quit or to transfer to a different mine”. All miners already knew for more than ten days before the explosion, that a rock burst is expected, but nobody took any measure to prevent loss of life.
The daughter of the killed V’acheslav Tr’asuho, Darya, announced in social medias: “The last two days, Father would come home and say that the methane in the mine rises regularly by 2%. In the same manner, at the plenum of dead miners, all relatives confirmed that the men would come and say that the mine is endangered by an approaching explosion. The leadership and the management turned away from all of this!”
Later, she wrote: “I beg for your help, so that we could get out the truth, get rid of such a management. Explosions will continue, as long as such cadres are at the helm…. We lost the dearest ones to us – our husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. We will never see them again. My family has lost a person, who climbed into the mine for our sake, to feed us, clothe us, and give our children an education. A loving father, we left safe by his side. We lost him because for some money is more important than lives… We beg you to not forget this message and to help us get to the truth, people are scared of telling the truth, but are falling victims to just another terrible tragedy. Help us.”
Truth is that as long as there are people in power, whose only considerations are their own profit and how to make as much as possible on the lives of the working, such occurrences will continue on happening. This concerns not only coal mines, but also any other enterprise and more. The country, which is being steered by similar accomplices and nominees of the capitalist system, is doomed to be reduced to ruins, and the working masses, living in such a “modern and developed state”, will remain milking cows for the mighty ones of this world.
36 people perished. 36 honest workers, at the expense of whose labour the elites of the coal-mining companies purchase airplanes, hockey companies and mansions abroad. I don’t think that this incident will be last in the mines of Vorkuta. As long as the bourgeoisie is in power, it will squeeze out from every single proletarian the profit, which will then be privatized by this same bourgeoisie. All problems, tragedies, difficulties, crises will, as always, become moments of socialization. And the sirs in power will continue begging us again and again to ‘tighten their belts’.
Translated from: http://rksmb.org/articles/society/tragediya-v-vorkute/
Originally published on 28.02.2016 on rksmb.org