August: Russia’s month of Disaster
It looks like August is going to be yet another busy month for bad news in Russia, and yet another busy month for those among the commentariat who think that Russia is well on its way to Hell in a handcart.
With a week still to go in August 2009, Russia has already seen three disasters that have been big enough to warrant global media attention, making August 2009 a bad month, even by the usual Russian standards:
- an explosion in a Siberian dam that killed at least 70, and has caused massive damage to the local economy;
- a suicide bomb attack that killed 20 in Ingushetia and re-emphasises the Russian government’s inability to impose order in the troubled North Caucuasus region;
- and a very public hunt for a missing, presumed hijacked freighter that so alarmed the Russian government that they sent the entire Atlantic fleet on a frantic hunt for it.
While thinking about Russia’s least favourite month, I stumbled across this graphical timeline of Russian disasters so far in the 21st Century. A quick count up of the totals reveals that, of the 28 disasters listed, 7 took place in August – a full 25%.
Does anyone have any rational explanation for Russia’s unfortunate sequence of Augusts? Are there some local factors that make Russia (or maybe even the rest of the world) more likely to suffer from a catastrophic event during the height of summer, or is it just a run of plain bad luck?