MAGNITOGORSK, Russia — A loud bang startled Anna P. Timofeyeva awake. She reached for the light, but the electricity had gone out. In the dark, she and her husband quickly dressed their 2-year-old son and prepared to flee.
“We understood something was wrong,” she said. But when they opened the front door of their apartment they stopped short. From the doorstep of the family’s seventh-floor apartment, she said, they could look directly down on a heap of rubble far below, all that was left of 25 neighboring apartments.
The explosion that collapsed Mrs. Timofeyeva’s high-rise building on Monday in the city of Magnitogorsk in southern Russia killed 39 people and initially stirred fears of terrorism. But the authorities have since blamed an even greater danger to the average Russian: crumbling infrastructure, including Soviet-era apartment blocks.
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For a decade or more, as oil revenues have swelled its coffers, the Kremlin has poured resources into its armed forces, developing new weapons, upgrading its nuclear stockpile and overhauling and professionalizing its army, navy and military intelligence agency.
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