Striking Russian coal miners in the Kuzbass, some of whom have not been paid for six months, today blocked the Trans-Siberian Railway. They were joined on strike today by other public sector workers also demanding payment of wage arrears. (BBC, May 15)
Meanwhile, 600 coal miners in the town of Inta in Russia’s Far North are continuing to block the Vorkuta-Moscow railroad. Not a single train, passenger or freight, has since been allowed to depart for Moscow for three days. Passengers are stranded in Pechora, where the temperature is minus 10 degrees Celsius. The miners blockaded the mayor of Inta and managers of the local coal enterprise in their offices. In Partizansk in the Far East, twelve miners are on hunger strike and a mine director has been taken hostage (RTR, May 13 and 14)
The miners are demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko or Deputy Premier Boris Nemtsov, though the federal government insists that it owes the miners no money and that it is industrial and regional consumers who are to blame for the fact that miners’ wages are months overdue. In the past, the miners were President Boris Yeltsin’s strongest supporters. The present strikes began with economic demands, but now the miners have added a demand for the president’s resignation. (ORT, RTR, May 13 and 14)
OUTRAGE AT MOSCOW SYNAGOGUE BLAST.