21 February 2005 -- More than 200 former cleanup workers of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe entered a fourth day of hunger strike today in Russia's central Tula region, south of Moscow.
The protesters demand that they continue to receive in-kind social benefits, such as free health treatment, and that the state cover two month-invalidity pension arrears.
The Russian government last year decided that in-kind social benefits should be replaced with cash payments.
The new regulation, which came into effect on 1 January 2005, has sparked massive protests across Russia.
In some regions, local authorities have promised to restore free public transportation and subsidized medicine for pensioners.