From LABOR-L@YORKU.CA Tue Jul 17 06:11:06 2001
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 22:06:39 EDT
Reply-To: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Subject: Alert! Iron Fist of Gazprom Descends on Workers Fighting Chemical Contamination

ISWoR web-site—

Iron Fist of Gazprom Descends on Workers Fighting Chemical Contamination

International Solidarity with Workers in Russia, 16 July 2001

Four women who are leaders of the “Peoples Committees” set up last year by workers in Astrakhan, southwest Russia, are now awaiting court judgment after police attacked their picket line. A number of protesters, including a pregnant woman, were beaten as police tried to clear them off the Astrakhan-Aksaraisk highway which they were blockading.

The workers, along with Zaschita union co-chairman and Duma deputy Oleg Shein, had taken to the highway because of the refusal of Gazprom, the largest gas company in the world, to honour its previously agreed obligation to the union, to re-house the families of workers and local residents who are at grave risk of chemical poisoning as a result of the unsafe environmental practices carried out by the company. In particular, many people who lived in the worker-settlements close to the plant have contracted cancer, lung diseases and sulphur poisoning as a result.

Zaschita, the militant union which is also at the forefront of the current struggle against the draconian new Labor Code, has called for urgent letters of protest (see end of message for details). The arrested women have now been freed, but their hearing will be held tomorrow (17 July).

Please respond to this appeal urgently, you may also use the model letter of protest below. Further information on the background of this struggle can be found at the URL


Dear Governor Guzhvin,

I am writing to express my indignation at the beating of workers protesting against the refusal of Gazprom to rehouse their families, who are at risk of serious and fatal illnesses as a result of chemical contamination of their housing area by the plant.

I understand that drunken police officers tried to provoke protesters at the tent camp the night before. The following day police used violence to break up a peaceful demonstration, beating several protesters, including a pregnant woman.

I insist that all charges are dropped against the leaders of the Peoples Committees: Ms. Dudareva , Ms. Dyakonova, Ms. Menlibaeva and Ms. Kalganova, and that immediate steps are taken to rehouse the people at risk of chemical contamination.

Yours sincerely





Now send this message:

By EMAIL to the following THREE addresses,,

Explanation of addresses for protest emails: Governor of Astrakhan area A.P.Guzhvin. Oleg Shein, co-chairman of Zaschita union and Duma deputy International solidarity with Workers in Russia (ISWoR-SITR MCPP)

Or by FAX to as many as possible of the following:

To Governor of Astrakhan area Anatoly Guzhvin
FAX (+7) 8-8512-247757 or (+7) 8512-22-95-14

To chairman of Astrakhan regional court Ramazanov Zhumbai Kalidulaevich:
(+7) 8512 22-68-38

To the Chief of Department of Internal Affairs of Astrakhan area Hvatkov, Vladimir M.
(+7) (8512) 22-28-33

To Public prosecutor of the Astrakhan area Orehov, Viktor
(+7) (8512) 22-15-18

With copy to Oleg Shein, co-chair of Zaschita union at
(+7) 8512-221287.