President Vladimir Putin has received an angry video from a blizzard survivor after about 80 people waited 15 hours for rescuers in the Orenburg region of Russia.
A driver froze to death and many others suffered frostbite when their cars were trapped on a main road in the region, in the southern Ural mountains.
Russia sends aid abroad but “we cannot save our own people”, Pavel Gusev said.
Nearly half a million people have watched his video on YouTube.
“I appeal to you, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] – I ask you to deal with all this, help those who suffered severe frostbite… and sort out our emergency services ministry,” Pavel Gusev’s message said.
According to Pavel Gusev, some calls for help got the reply from rescue service staff: “You should have stayed at home, you had no business going out.”
Prosecutors in Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) are now examining the emergency response on the night of January 3, when cars were buried in snow on the Orenburg-Orsk road.
Survivors say the blizzard was so bad there was virtually no visibility.
Russia’s Vesti TV news reports that a policeman who gave his workman’s jacket to a freezing woman and his gloves to a man during the rescue will get a medal from the regional interior ministry.
Danil Maskudov’s assistance is seen as a heroic gesture – he is now in hospital too, with severely frostbitten fingers.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said worshippers should pray that others act as nobly as that policeman.