Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 129

Siberian coal miners are continuing to blockade the Trans-Siberian railway at Anzhero-Sudzhensk in Kemerovo Oblast in support of their demand for full payment of wage arrears, the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin and his government, and changes to the government’s economic policies. The protesters refused yesterday to talk to a delegation led by Russian Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Igor Kozhukhovsky on the grounds that it was not sufficiently senior. They said they wanted Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Sysuev to come to Anzhero-Sudzhensk to talk to them instead. It was Sysuev who negotiated and signed on May 24 the protocol that brought the last, ten-day road and railway blockade to a close. But the miners say they have received only 65 percent of the 1 billion rubles (US$160 million) promised by the federal government under that agreement. Kozhukhovsky appeared on local television on July 6 and said the government had honored all the pledges it made to the miners in May, with the exception of those covering child benefit and job creation. He told viewers that the government had done all it could to meet the miners’ demands. Sysuev yesterday sent a telegram to the governor of Kemerovo Oblast, Aman Tuleev, saying that the government will not talk with the miners until they lift their railway blockade. Like Kozhukhovsky, Sysuev said the government has already sent all the money it owes. (Russian agencies, July 6)