Developers of cheap residential complexes generally try to save money by not paying bribes to the authorizing authorities, and the residents suffer as a result.
However, boiler houses in prestigious residential complexes have their own problems. As a rule, Western equipment is used there. But due to sanctions, that equipment is now neither supplied to Russia nor serviced. In addition, modern boilers generally have an internet connection with the manufacturer – for remote diagnostics and repairs.
In theory, this problem is being solved. “A friend of mine installed a VPN on his Italian heating boiler, after which the boiler decided that it had returned to Italy and started working,” Petrov laughs. But this is not a long-term solution, he warns: it is easy to track the real location, via satellite, for instance.
“No one will bother over an individual boiler, but for large boiler houses this is a risky option.” Of course, Italian or any other Western manufacturers are unlikely to turn off their unauthorized connected equipment in severe cold, but it is possible in the warm season.
In terms of spare parts, Petrov is sure that imported boiler houses are in better shape if the manufacturer is a popular brand. “ABB has a lot of production in China. It is a long-standing Chinese tradition that unofficial production is set up right next to official production, producing the same products but under its own brand. These products, officially with a Chinese name but absolutely identical to the original ones, are no problem at all to buy. Many Russian factories have already formed entire teams to select analogues of Western equipment,” says the expert.
The biggest challenge, he says, is that the Chinese have completely different programming principles. Sometimes the documentation is also in Chinese. “Chinese-to-Russian translators mainly come from the humanities, [so] for them technical translations are difficult,” explains Petrov.
Now, the cold wave in Russia is subsiding, and the damage from the accidents is gradually being cleaned up. But since the quality of utility infrastructure will continue to deteriorate, Kulbaka expects the frequency of accidents to increase.Transport problems
Accidents are increasingly happening in the airline industry – something the cold clearly has nothing to do with. For example, two of the three Boeing aircraft operated by Red Wings
(one of Russia’s 10 largest airlines by passenger traffic) went out of service in the summer, because of which 400 Russian tourists got stuck in Antalya. Red Wings was unable to send a flight from Yekaterinburg to Antalya to pick them up and was forced to ask for help from Ikar Airlines.
Meanwhile, previously an Ikar plane
had been unable to fly from Phuket to Irkutsk because its weather radar broke. There are radars in warehouses, but they cannot be sold to Russia due to sanctions. Finally, Aeroflot,
Russia’s national carrier, had eight planes break down in five weeks.
“This, of course, is due to sanctions – the equipment is in need of a standard change of parts, repairs; simply put, authorized maintenance,” says Kulbaka. As soon as this maintenance stopped, problems began.
There are several types of maintenance performed on an airplane, which differ in terms of complexity, explains Petrov. “We can do some of the operations ourselves; they do not present any difficulties. Some of them require consumables. We can produce some simple consumables – such as gaskets and seals – but foreign manufacturers prohibited airlines from doing this.”
He goes on: “now, amid sanctions airlines might begin to produce simple parts despite that ban. But there are components, mainly engines, that cannot be made in an improvised manner. So, as engine resources are exhausted, the number of flights will be reduced. And so far there is no information on, or even rumors about, whether something has been successfully ordered from Iran or an agreement has indeed been reached on repairing aircraft there, as had been reported in the media.”
However, Kulbaka believes that for the most popular models – Boeings and Airbuses –buying the needed parts through third parties will not be a problem due to the huge number of them circulating around the world. Another issue is whether the parts can be replaced by Russian specialists without putting safety at risk.
In Petrov’s view, the situation of the early 90s may now be repeated, when the decline in living standards and the economy led to a sharp reduction in air travel, and impoverished airlines cannibalized their own fleets. “In principle, Russian aviation survived in this state for 10 years, so they can survive for 10 years today too,” the expert believes. Moreover, for the European part of Russia there is an alternative: trains.
Alas, not all is well with them.