KRYMSK, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – President Vladimir Putin traveled on Friday to a flood-ravaged city in southern Russia whose citizens are still recovering from the destruction wrought by a record-setting flood last summer.
Putin promised during his working visit to Krymsk, which suffered devastating floods last July that killed more than 170 people, that the government would resolve longstanding issues relating to the damages, notably compensation payments.
Officials came under fire over the catastrophe by both local residents and the anti-Kremlin opposition at the time for their allegedly inadequate reaction to the flooding. Some residents complained in the following months that the state had been slow to offer compensation and new housing.
“I know that questions remain,” Putin said while visiting a home in a new district built after the flooding, emphatically named “Hope.”
“But what I can say is this: we will complete everything to the maximum,” adding that “all citizens should receive compensation, regardless of whether they are citizens of the Russian Federation.”
He noted that residents were not to blame in cases in which their compensation was delayed by paperwork or documentation, instead chalking it up to “bureaucracy.”
Putin also said he intends to organize meetings in Moscow to discuss ways to better prepare the city against future natural disasters.
As part of his visit to the new Hope neighborhood, which was built to accomodate families hit by the flooding, Putin presented a plasma televsion and an iPad tablet, among other gifts, to the newly-relocated Zagursky family.
Other neighborhood residents praised local workers, volunteers and regional authorities for their attention.
A late December poll by the independent Levada Center pollster found that 30 percent of Russians believe the Krymsk flooding was the most important event of 2012, topping Putin’s re-election to the presidency (29 percent) and the scandal over punk group Pussy Riot (13 percent).