The Guardian February 23, 2000


Russian workers defeat corruption

Workers at a Moscow pharmaceutical plant had been guarding the premises 
and manning the picket for two weeks when in the early hours of February 
12, 2000, they were attacked by a group of armed private security guards in 
balaclavas.

Seven people were injured as the result of the attack. All this has 
followed from an appointment of a new director without consultation or 
agreement with the workers.

Unlike many plants in present-day Russia, the workers at this particular 
enterprise enjoyed high wages and stable working conditions. The plant paid 
their taxes in full. It had heavily invested in the upgrading of equipment 
to the tune of US$21 million in four years and its performance was the best 
in the industry.

Evidently that was the reason for trying to introduce a new director with a 
view to privatising the plant. The new guy and his security thugs had not 
made it through the door, however. 

Gennadi Zuganov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) 
leader and a presidential candidate visited the plant and had a meeting 
with the workers.

Addressing the workers, Mr Zuganov said that another property 
redistribution was taking place "where the last well-managed working 
collectives and enterprises are being grabbed by unscrupulous people".

Mr Zuganov told the workers that he had met the person responsible for the 
director's appointment and demanded immediate measures be taken to 
normalise the situation at the plant.

An official request will be sent to the Government on behalf of the CPRF 
fraction in the Duma with a debate in the Duma itself.

Mr Zuganov also said that similar attacks on state-owned enterprises had 
taken place in other places  the Vyborg Paper factory saw the same heavy-
handed attack on workers and state property.

As a result of the workers' resistance to turn their plant into another 
source of enriching the few the newly-appointed director has officially 
resigned.

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