President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: It’s painful to listen to this. You said that there is no suggestion of a criminal deed here. Unfortunately I cannot agree. Everything that has happened cannot be accounted for in any other way. I think it is absolutely obvious. You yourself said a criminal case was instigated. True, this was not a premeditated act, but that doesn’t make it less serious. A huge number of people are dead.
As for the crime itself, of course it will have to be investigated. Officers from the [Prosecutor General’s] Investigative Committee and representatives of the Interior Ministry and FSB [Federal Security Service] are already at work. But we need to look at this in the larger context. There were notices and requests issued [to the club], but they all were ignored. Moreover, they went so far as to bring in people from various agencies that put on a fireworks display for this occasion. Firstly, what happened was the result of stupidity and irresponsibility. Secondly, there was absolute indifference to the situation development. I have seen the reports — those responsible for the entire tragedy are now trying to flee and hide. They should be found and punished up to the maximum degree possible.
As to what must be done in the future: Mr Shoigu [Emergencies Minister], we must redraft the law relating to such [entertainment] activities. It has to be much more stringent, particularly for not complying with the rules set out by fire protection agencies. When property owners don’t observe the rules the penalties must be much harsher. Everyone is criticizing the firemen for what they didn’t do, whereas all the evidence [in this case] suggests that this was the consequence of not complying with fire department regulations.
With regard to the situation itself, obviously we have to continue giving medical assistance. The situation is very difficult, as [Minister of Healthcare and Social Development] Ms Tatyana Golikova said. We must spare no expense on airplanes, on transport. If the facilities in Moscow are needed to deal with some of the injured, if that is required, then we need to bring them to Moscow in case their health allows that. Of course if this can’t be done we need to provide assistance on site, including the use of modern technology. If something from Moscow is required, let’s get it there immediately as well.
With regard to social consequences, we have to see what can be done about support provided in such cases through the budget of the Perm Territory, the Government Cabinet’s contingency fund, and other sources. Prepare some proposals and report to me on what can be done in this regard. In any case, we need to provide all the support that we can, both moral and financial, for the relatives of the injured and those who died.
All relevant problems should be sorted out. In the studio here we have the Governor [of Perm Region] and the [Presidential] Plenipotentiary Representative [to the Volga Federal District]. I am ordering you as well to take all necessary measures.
The main thing now is to help those who are suffering, the 88 people who are badly injured. So that is what we must focus our efforts on at present.
But we need not only to study the circumstances and decide about the legal consequences of what happened, but also to apply the law, both administrative legislation and criminal law.
Keep me informed, report to me on a regular basis and carry on with your work.
We’ll talk again soon.