Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 149

The Russian government yesterday dispatched 45 billion rubles ($8.7 million) from the federal budget to Primorsky krai to pay back wages of striking miners and power workers. Satisfying the strikers there, Moscow hopes, will prevent the protest from spreading from the Far East to other parts of Russia.

More than 10,000 of the region’s 27,000 miners have now joined the 19-day protest, saying their wages have not been paid for five or six months and their families are on the brink of starvation. They are the victims of a payments crisis gripping the whole Russian economy, public and private. The coal producers have not been paid for their deliveries to power stations, which in turn have not been paid by the region’s military-industrial complex, which has not been paid by the federal government, which is suffering a sharp fall in tax revenues. In Primorsky krai, this has already led to electricity blackouts, while failure to build coal stocks now threatens potentially extremely serious consequences as winter approaches. Yesterday, a miner’s wife tried to kill herself by lying on a railway track. The engineer saw her and managed to stop in time. She said her husband had not been paid for six months and their family was near starvation. (Reuters, Interfax, Itar-Tass, July 30)

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