Date: Tue, 27 May 97 15:50:32 CDT
TV Features Mounting Protests in Vladivostok
Moscow NTV, 18 May 1997, 1700 GMT
This station carries in its weekly "Itogi" program a 5-minute video report about escalating protests against constant power cuts in Vladivostok.
The correspondent says that people who have lived without electricity for months are mounting road blocks and stopping cars in order to attract wider attention to their plight.
They are also organizing rallies demanding the resignation of Maritime Territory Governor Yevgeniy Nazdratenko and the introduction of direct presidential rule. No one seems to know, however, how this direct presidential rule would work in reality.
In the meantime, the situation is getting worse. In interviews, one local resident says he has no electricity for 18 hours a day, while another argues for breaking away from Moscow and setting up a Far Eastern republic, declaring: "No one seems to need us. Fine. Let's set up the Far Eastern republic. The whole of Siberia up to the Urals will join us. We will pay all the necessary taxes, but the money will remain here. All we should do is to get rid of our present authorities."
Maritime Territory Governor Yevgeniy Nazdratenko, for his part, argues for more respect to the power engineering. He says in an interview: "You will not achieve anything here by issuing decrees. What is needed is a radical change of approach to our power engineering, the spine of the economy of the Russian Federation. One has to proceed with care when toying with various reforms and experiments."
Vasiliy Polishchuk, general director of the Dalenergo joint-stock company, complains in an interview that he is powerless to change anything and that the situation is getting completely out of control: "When I stopped receiving any coal, I found myself on the verge of stopping strategic defense objects. I phoned General Kondratov, I phoned our governor, I begged them: Please save us. We are about to collapse. But I did not get any positive response. There is no one really in charge in our territory," he says.
The correspondent adds that the authorities have not remained completely unmoved by the popular protests. They have reduced power cuts to eight or ten hours a day.