Some 4,000 workers at Russia’s leading nuclear center in Sarov in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast are threatening to down tools on Thursday, July 23. (Itar-Tass, July 21) They are demanding payment of wage arrears and a 50 percent pay increase. This is the first time that workers at the once privileged center–where academician Andrei Sakharov helped create the Soviet hydrogen bomb–have called a strike. In the Soviet period, workers in such establishments wanted for little, but their living standards have been hard hit since Russia launched its market reforms.
Known in Soviet times as Arzamas-16, the Sarov nuclear center was one of the USSR’s main nuclear-weapons design laboratories. There were at least ten such secret “atomic” cities in the USSR, their names bearing numbers to set them apart. Arzamas-16, which in the Soviet period appeared on no published map, was founded in 1946 on the site of an ancient monastery. It returned to its original name, Sarov, in 1994.
The strike committee has promised that safety procedures will be observed at all times and that no risk will arise as a result of the workers’ action. Also on July 23, defense industry workers at the closed town of Snezhinsk, in the Urals, will hold a sympathy strike with their colleagues in Sarov. (Itar-Tass, July 21)
CHECHEN GOVERNMENT ADMITS THREAT OF CIVIL WAR.