Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 15:11:30 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Vladimir Bilenkin <achekhov@UNITY.NCSU.EDU>
Subject: Workers Fight Back Armed Guards in Vyborg (Russia)

Workers Fight Back Armed Guards in Vyborg

Translated from the news release of Rabochaia demokratiia (Moscow), [13 July 1999]

In the morning of July 9 several dozens of uniformed cut-throats stormed and seized the administration building of the Vyborg Pulp and Paper Mill the town of Sovetskii. Since a year and a half ago when the workers had taken the control over this plant all its shops resumed production, including the unique paper producing machinery, one of the most advanced in the world. After many years of hunger and poverty, the mill workers began getting paid their wages regularly. However, this state of affairs were not to the liking of those who lost their control over this valuable piece of property. Last summer the arbitrage court decided to return the mill to the predators from Nikamor Company. The firm Alcem, linked to some of the most corrupted and criminal sections of Russian business—vodka and aluminum trade—bought the “right” for the mill from the Nikamor and went from threats to actions.

Under the protection of the deputy head of the Leningrad Region Police Yury Gavrilov, the bandits seized the mill director Vantorin, elected by the workers, and began sealing off the administration offices. About five hundred workers then rushed to Vantorin's help. They succeeded in pushing the bandits to the third floor of the building. Unarmed workers fought a bloody battle with “private” guards armed with guns and batons. The “fighters” of the spetsnaz unit “Taiphoon”—used to put down prison riots—were particularly ruthless. They seriously wounded two workers. In the end, the workers' resistance was so fierce and their threats to cut the highway “Scandinavia” so real that the authorities lost their nerve. The acting regional governor Serdiukov and the police general Petukhov ordered the retreat. So far the workers has won in this bloody fight. They were helped by the determined support of the city and regional unions who have strongly condemned the attack on the mill. But more and bigger battles lie ahead. The political situation in the country favors the bourgeoisie. All those who are not indifferent to the struggle of the Vyborg mill workers should remain mobilized.