A Politburo commission blamed most of the 25,000 deaths in Armenia's earthquake on shoddy construction and turned its findings over to prosecutors to file criminal charges, Tass said Saturday.
"The catastrophic consequences of the earthquake in Armenia are explained above all by the low quality of the building and assembly work, by the inadmissible violation of design norms and the strength of underground tremors," the official news agency reported."There would have been no such huge number of human casualties if the established standards and regulations at all stages of construction, from design to assembly, were observed," it said.
The report ended an investigation that began immediately after the Dec. 7, 1988 earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale and destroyed Leninakan, Spitak, Kirovakan and other cities of northern Armenia. The Politburo commission was headed by Premier Nikolai I. Ryzhkov.