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Unpaid Workers In St. Petersburg Ask Putin For Help

ST. PETERSBURG -- Some 300 construction workers on a major new highway in St. Petersburg are demanding that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin help them get their overdue salaries, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The workers say they have not been paid since January.

Last week, the workers blocked a section of the highway in Leningrad Oblast's Lomonosov district for two hours.

They say they will block the federal highway again if their back wages remain unpaid and warned that they will keep the highway blocked until Putin arrives to deal with the situation.

The Flora company that is responsible for that part of the new highway says it is unable to pay off its debts, which are reported to be more than $16 million.

Andrei Zaostrovtsev, of the St. Petersburg-based Center of Modernization Research, told RFE/RL that advance money given to Flora by the local government might have been misused or stolen.