New St. Petersburg governor tools up for winter

Georgy Poltavchenko, the acting governor of St. Petersburg, vowed to prepare for winter beforehand to avoid last winter’s complications caused by heavy snows in Russia’s second largest city.

“One of the prime tasks is to prepare for the coming winter and for the heating season so that residents of St. Petersburg will feel less of the winter’s cold breath,” Poltavchenko told journalists.

In January, the roof of a sports complex collapsed giving in to layers of accumulated snow and injuring two people in a suburb of St. Petersburg. Two weeks later the roof of a supermarket collapsed for the same reason killing one woman and injuring 13 others.

People criticized previous Governor Valentina Matviyenko for inactivity of municipal workers in cleaning the snow from the streets of St. Petersburg in time and complained of icicles hanging dangerously from the eves of roofs.

On Monday, Matviyenko sent a letter of resignation from the post of governor to President Dmitry Medvedev taking a further step towards Russia’s third-highest political post as the Russian parliament’s upper house speaker.

Medvedev approved her resignation and appointed his envoy to St. Petersburg, Poltavchenko, as the city’s acting head.

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