Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 22

Teachers throughout Russia began a three-day strike January 30 to protest the non-payment of wages. This is the third time teachers have struck over wage arrears in five months. Observance of the strike was patchy: schools were closed in rural areas, but in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where teachers’ working conditions are better, most were said to be open. (4) Union leaders have threatened that if teachers’ demands are not met, they will call another strike in May. The threat is intended to put pressure on the government, which is not expected to want the embarrassment of a strike just before the June presidential elections. Concurrently, Russian coal miners have called for a general work stoppage on February 1 to coincide with the Ukrainian miners’ strike planned for the same day. Although Russian miners are also protesting non-payment of wages, according to Izvestiya journalist Irina Savvateeva, the causes of their wage arrears are quite different. The fact that coal miners have not been paid is the fault not of the government, which is subsidizing the industry heavily, Savvateeva reports, but of coal industry managers who have used the funds to keep inefficient mines operational. Teachers, by contrast, have gone unpaid because the government has had to divert money from state-supported sectors such as education to bail out industries, such as mining, where workers are traditionally more militant. (5)

Communist Party Leader to Attend World Economic Forum.