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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kasyanov Criticizes Cabinet Over Far East Heating Crisis

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov reprimanded his Cabinet on Thursday for the suffering Russians endured this winter when plunging temperatures knocked out heating systems and left thousands shivering in the cold.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday blamed the crisis in the Primorye region on the Energy Ministry, national power monopoly Unified Energy Systems and the local administration.

"You must draw your conclusions and make sure that we never again see the situation some Russian regions experienced this year," Itar-Tass quoted Kasyanov as telling his hushed ministers.

Kasyanov reminded them that the Cabinet had four times discussed preparations for winter and was invariably given optimistic reports.

Putin stepped into the crisis last year when pictures of freezing people filled television screens.

His intervention prompted a flurry of activity from the government, which sent extra funds to the region, borrowed coal for Primorye from other areas and flew in teams of welders and plumbers.

Leading Moscow politicians have asked Putin to sack the Primorye governor, Yevgeny Nazdratenko. Nazdratenko, who had been due to fly to Moscow to face the wrath of fellow governors in parliament, was taken to the hospital Wednesday with heart trouble.