Date: Sun, 11 Oct 98 13:28:14 CDT
From: Frank Durgin <>
Subject: Second Day of Protest in Russian Far East
Article: 45084
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <> From russia today Oct. 8 1998 Mos 1:58 p.m.

Second Day of Protest Begins in Russian Far East

Agence France Presse, 8 October 1998

MOSCOW—(Agence France Presse) Communist predictions that nationwide protests would continue were being borne out at least in part on Thursday morning, as mass demonstrations over wage arrears resumed in Russia's Far East, Itar-Tass news agency reported. (Protesters in Novokuznetsk, Siberia, during a Wednesday demonstration.)

True to vows not to relent until President Boris Yeltsin resigns, thousands of tireless pickets again descended upon the capital of Russia's distant Kamchatka region, where some workers have not been paid their salaries in over a year and a half.

Oct. 7 is just the start—the protest will continue and grow, Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov had warned Tuesday.

Labor union leaders in Kamchatka estimated the number of protesters, who have paralyzed public transport, at 22,000, saying the demonstrations could continue until Monday, when thousands from the region's crippled military sector plan to march beneath red banners.

The workers' demands, like their picket signs, were the same as on Wednesday, when hundreds of thousands of Russians from Vladivostok to Moscow flooded the nation's streets in protest over billions of dollars owed in wage arrears.

Pensioners and public workers across the country said they would not be satisfied until Yeltsin resigned.

Though repeatedly burned in effigy, Yeltsin said he would not step down and expressed satisfaction with the great political responsibility shown by political forces during the day.

With the unpopular president still firmly, if inertly, ensconced in the Kremlin, disaffected Russians have little recourse but to continue their public outcry as an early winter descends on the crisis-stricken country.

The massive pay arrears owed to the public sector were exacerbated by August's economic collapse that triggered rampant inflation, melted away savings and drastically lowered living standards.

Public anger over the country's dire economic straits failed to generate the sweeping results promised by the organizers of Wednesday's protests.

Trade unions said 10 million people took part in the strikes Wednesday, which, if correct, would fall far short of Zyuganov's expectations of 40 million.

Zyuganov himself shocked observers Wednesday by opting not to address a Moscow rally, indicating a possible split in the leadership of the protest movement. Independent trade union leader Mikhail Shmakov, who organized the protest, also failed to claim victory in a television interview late Wednesday evening.

While Communists, trades unions and Kremlin spokesmen quibbled over sharply varying figures, analysts agreed that Wednesday's protests were nevertheless one of the largest public attacks ever on Yeltsin's rocky presidency.