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Tatar-Bashkir Report: January 26, 2005

26 January 2005
Demands Of Demonstrating Pensioners Growing
Police say some 700 pensioners again blocked traffic on the Tatarstan and Kirov streets in downtown Kazan on 17 January, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 18 January. Participants held signs calling for authorities to step down because "Life has become unbearable"; Others said: "An end to Putin's reforms robbing the people," "100 Percent payment for housing and city services means death for pensioners." One of the placards asked "Shaimiev, why do you not appear before the people?" Some 20 police patrolled the gathering.

Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva, Social Services Minister Klavdia Novikova, and Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov met with protestors headed by the leader of the Republican Committee for People's Supervision, Gennadii Zakharov. In an appeal given by the protesters to President Mintimer Shaimiev, they called for the holding of an extraordinary session of Tatarstan's State Council with the participation of representatives of the public to consider the issue of social-benefits reform. The activists demanded that all in-kind benefits be restored, including free use of public transport by pensioners, the disabled, students, security service workers, firemen, and emergency-situations service employees. They also called for raising pensions to the "living wage," introducing public supervision over the housing and municipal-services sectors, nationalizing the oil and gas industries, and establishing a "people's government" on the basis of labor collectives. Participants in the meeting also demanded that an office be provided to collect requests from residents and that 15 minutes of broadcast time be allocated to them on a state television channel. Iskhaqov promised to resolve the office issue.

In Chally on 17 January, some 400 pensioners also blocked traffic for about 90 minutes. Mayor Ildar Khalikov appealed to the protestors to inform others that the city is studying the possibilities for opening free bus routes for pensioners.

On 15 January, protests were held both in Kazan and Chally.

Analyst: Administrative Reform Aims For The Abolishment Of The National Republics...
In an article published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 17 January, Olga Kryshtanovskaya, the head of the Center for the Study of Elite at the Russian Academy of Sciences Sociology Institute, wrote that there is a direct connection between the administrative reform abolishing the elections of governors by voters and fighting terrorism since separatism is a source of terrorism. Kryshtanovskaya said the reform targets national republics because moves toward self-determination arise in autonomous republics, and because territorial-ethnic entities have always threatened Russia's leaders. Federal authorities are doing everything so that territorial-ethnic entities do not exist, she said. "The major problem for [Russian authorities] is the removal of such autocracies like in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan," she said. Kryshtanovskaya forecast that Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev, who is an ethnic Tatar, may be proposed to be the head of Tatarstan. As a result, she predicted, the gubernatorial share of "siloviki," or the number of people who previously served in federal law-enforcement agencies, may grow from 9 percent to 18 percent. The final goal is the restoration of a state system based on monocentrism and a merger of power and property that existed in Russia for centuries, she said. However, she added that the reforms initiated by the Kremlin over past five years have caused new conflicts and President Vladimir Putin has pushed the limit.

...As Duma Official Says Tatarstan's Elite Will Propose Single Candidate For President
"Kommersant-Vlast" on 17 January quoted State Duma Deputy Speaker Oleg Morozov, who represents Tatarstan in the Russian Duma, as saying that all potential candidates for Tatar president are well-known and members of the local elite who will definitely be able to agree on a single nominee for the post. Morozov also added that since the Russian president will be personally responsible for the activities of the appointed governor, it will be impossible "to purchase the post [of the head of a region]."

Kazan Pensioners Continue Protests
Some 200 pensioners on 18 January continued the protest against benefit reforms, Interfax-Povolzhe, RIA-Novosti, Tatar-inform, and other news agencies reported the same day.

The pensioners, who have been protesting since 15 January, blocked traffic under the watchful eye of some 30 police officers. Protestors also met with State Council Chairman Farid Mukhametshin to discuss the issue, and demanded that an extraordinary session of the State Council be held to address the reforms.

Kazan administration Social Care Board head Tatyana Larionova met later with protestors to inform them that a meeting headed by President Mintimer Shaimiev and involving Tatar and Kazan senior officials considered ways of waiving fees for housing and municipal services in January and maintaining free transportation for pensioners until the issue is resolved. Larionova added that the contentious issue is being considered by the Tatar president. She said 10 million rubles ($356,000) will be allocated from the Kazan budget to provide benefits to needy residents. Approximately 68,000 people in Kazan were affected by the reforms, under which in-kind benefits were replaced with cash stipends.

The same day, visiting Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Gerasimov met with Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov and stressed the need to ensure citizens' quality of life in the wake of the reforms, Tatar-inform reported on 18 January.

Patriarch Opposes Portrayal Of Kulikovo Battle As Victory Of Russians Over Tatars
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Moscow Eparchial Council, Patriarch Aleksii II said that "we should not stress the confrontation between Russian and Tatars when discussing the battle of Kulikovo.... There were a lot of Tatars in the army of Prince Dmitrii Donskoi and, unfortunately, there were Russians on [Khan] Mamai's side," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 January.

On 8 September 1380, a Russian army led by Moscow Prince Dmitrii Donskoi defeated a Golden Horde force led by Khon Mamai that included Tatar units.

President Vladimir Putin made a similar comment concerning the battle during a 23 December press conference. The council established a committee at the Moscow Patriarchy to organize the celebration of the battle's 625th anniversary.

Tatar Authorities Propose Solution To Benefits Issue
President Mintimer Shaimiev told a press conference on 19 January that residents of Tatarstan who were eligible for free public transport prior to recently imposed benefit reforms will soon be able to purchase low-cost transport passes that will be valid in municipalities throughout the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported.

The passes will be available as of 1 February and will cost 200 rubles ($7) per month. Passes for schoolchildren and students will cost 120 rubles and 150 rubles, respectively.

In January, free city transport will be maintained for pensioners and law enforcement employees. Shaimiev said some 600 million rubles will be allocated from the republican budget to cover the costs of the program. Shaimiev also said the State Council plenary session on 26 January will discuss amendments to the republican law on social care to reflect the new measures.

Meanwhile, some 400 Kazan residents on 19 January continued protests against the new benefits reforms (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 17-19 January 2005).

Government Pledges Support For Muslims
At a meeting with Tatarstan's Muslim leaders on 18 January, Deputy Prime Minister Zile Welieva promised to help resolve issues involving Tatarstan's Muslims, Tatar-inform reported the same day. Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board Deputy Chairman Weliulla Yaqupov stressed the need to construct a mosque in Kazan that would have a capacity of 15,000-20,000 people.

Yaqupov said that on major holidays, celebrations are to be held in a single place, and that none of the republic's existing mosques, including the Qol Sherif mosque due to open in July in the Kazan Kremlin, are large enough.

Muslim leaders also appealed for funding for the private secondary Mulsim school Gosmanie, which has lost its financial support from the state following the adoption of amendments to the law on education prohibiting state funding for private educational institutions.

Russian President Greets Muslims On Qorban Beirem Holiday President Vladimir Putin on 20 January sent greetings to Russia's Muslims on the occasion of Qorban Beirem (Eid Al-Adha), RIA-Novosti reported the same day. Putin noted that the "development of interfaith dialogue, and the careful and respectful treatment of centuries-old traditions of...all faiths will further promote the consolidation of Russian society."

Some 16,500 believers attended holiday prayers in Kazan's 40 mosques on Qorban Beirem, Tatar-inform reported on 20 January, citing the Interior Ministry's Kazan Board. Some 900 Interior Ministry employees monitored the events.

Shaimiev Rejects Moratorium On Social-Benefits Reform
In an interview with Interfax on 21 January, Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev said all speculation about the necessity of a moratorium on implementing the monetization of in-kind social benefits are unfounded. In a market economy, the further preservation of in-kind benefits is hopeless. "Moreover, these two concepts are incompatible," Shaimiev said. He emphasized that delaying the reform for an unspecified period will put all transport and other structures in extremely tight conditions and will damage the quality of services provided. He said the problems with implementing the monetization were caused by the fact that an acceptable mechanism of monetizing in-kind benefits has not been developed. "In this situation, it was unfair to shift the responsibility for failures in implementation of the law to the regional level as some government officials tried to do." Shaimiev added that "we told the federal government, the Unified Russia presidium, and the State Duma commission about the necessity of introducing unified passes, yet during the course of discussing the law but no one listened to us."

Pensioners Continue Protests In Kazan, Chally
Some 200 pensioners demonstrated on 22 January in Kazan to protest the abolishment of in-kind social benefits, RIA-Novosti reported the same day. The protest was organized by the Tatar Public Center but Communist and Yabloko banners were also present. Participants announced the establishment of the Movement of Tatarstan's Residents for Socioeconomic Rights and began collecting signatures for its registration. They demanded an independent commission be set up with representatives of the public and state authorities to supervise the republican and Kazan municipal budgets and to decide whether the increase of housing and municipal-service tariffs is justified.

The next day, some 50 pensioners gathered in Kazan to protest the social-benefits reform at an unsanctioned demonstration initiated by the Republican Committee For Labor Supervision (RKRK), Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 23 January, while according to RIA-Novosti, the number of participants was about 100. RKRK Chairman Gennadii Zakharov said that the committed planned to attract schoolchildren, students, and plants workers to the protest and to state about the preparations for a republic-wide strike. However, no one organizer appeared at the meeting and the chair was taken by Tatar State Council Communist deputies Robert Sadyiqov and Nesime Stolyarova. Stolyarova called for the return of all in-kind benefits, "worthy" wages of at least 20,000 rubles ($710.5), and the annulment of the privatization of the republican oil sector.

On 23 January, over 4,000 people took part in a sanctioned demonstration organized in Chally's Victory Park by the Communist Party to protest the reform, Interfax reported the same day. Protestors carried red flags and slogans calling for the dismissal of the president's and government's "regime directed against the people." The Communist Party's Tatar First Secretary Khefiz Mirgalimov said at the meeting that monetary compensations do not cover real public-transport expenses. Signatures were collected at the meeting to the appeal to restore in-kind benefits.

Meanwhile, according to the Tatar Interior Ministry, some 20 organizers of unsanctioned demonstrations in Kazan, Elmet, Chally, and Yeshel Uzen are being prosecuted for causing harm to transport companies, "Vechernyaya Kazan" reported on 22 January.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Newspaper: Bashkir Authorities Sealing Off Blagoveshchensk...
In the third article in a series devoted to the police raids in Blagoveshchensk (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, 7, 10-14, and 17 January 2005) published on 17 January, "Novaya gazeta" reported that in the wake of previous reports, authorities in Bashkortostan have taken measures to isolate Blagoveshchensk from the outside world. As part of the plan, police meet all planes and trains arriving in Ufa from Moscow to prevent parcels being delivered by train conductors and aircraft crew members. The newspaper quoted Sterletamaq authorities as saying the transportation of packages by conductors was prohibited as of 1 January by order by President Murtaza Rakhimov as an antiterrorism measure. In Blagoveshchensk, residents have had problems making long-distance calls, while mobile-phone calls are listened in on, as indicated on phone screens by an opened lock icon.

...As Activist Calls For Charges Against Security Officials
"Novaya gazeta" also quoted For Human Rights group leader Lev Ponomarev, who visited Blagoveshchensk on 12-14 January to conduct an independent investigation, as saying the Bashkir officials who ordered the raids must be brought to criminal responsibility. Among them, Ponomarev listed Bashkir Deputy Interior Minister Anatolii Smirnov, who led the special police unit (OMON) in Blagoveshchensk; Blagoveshchensk Raion administration head Anfas Nuretdinov, who initiated the OMON operation; and Interior Minister Rafael Divaev, who signed the order for the use of OMON forces. Ponomarev said there is serious evidence that the number of OMON troops was not 15 as the Bashkir authorities claim but at least 40. He added that there is testimony about young girls being raped in the Blagoveshchensk police department.

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Activists Accused Of Terrorism
Bashkortostan's Prosecutor's Office has accused Hizb ut-Tahrir members arrested in Bashkortostan in December of involvement or promotion of crimes of a terrorist nature, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 January. Investigator Eslem Khalikov told the news agency that the accused, if found guilty, could face between four and eight years' imprisonment. Of the 18 activists detained in Bashkortostan on 16 December, nine were arrested while the others agreed not to leave the republic. Over 500 leaflets and dozens of books and brochures of extremist content were seized from the detainees. In searches of their apartments and workplaces, two grenades, four explosive devices, and over 40 machine-gun and pistol cartridges were found.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been declared an extremist organization by a Russian court

Interior Ministry Completes Investigation Of Blagoveshchensk Raids
The Bashkir Interior Ministry has completed its probe into the mid-December Blagoveshchensk raids that resulted in mass detentions, arrests, and reports of violence against local residents and brought disciplinary action against several security-force employees, RosBalt reported on 17 January (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, 7, 10-14, 17, and 18 January 2005). Specifically, the deputy head of the Blagoveshchensk Interior Board and the commander of a special-forces detachment in the Interior Ministry (OMON) were demoted. The head of the Blagoveshchensk Interior Board, Ildar Ramazanov, was reprimanded. Investigators concluded that the heads of the republican Interior Ministry's public-safety service don't meet their job requirements. Blagoveshchensk district forces involved in mass detentions will reportedly face discipline for suspected abuse of office. Bashkir Interior Ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov said the inspection revealed a "low level of preparation and organization of preventive measures" and an "absence of proper supervision over the activities of subordinates." At the same time, he added, the measures taken in Blagoveshchensk -- as a town with a record of high criminal activity -- have been deemed "legal" and "necessary."

During the December raid involving Bashkortostan's OMON detachment, about 1,000 residents of Blagoveshchensk were detained and hundreds received medical aid.

Interior Employee Says No Assault On Policemen Took Place In Blagoveshchensk...
In an interview with Ekho Moskvy on 19 January, Blagoveshchensk patrol-sentry duty Senior Sergeant Yevgenii Chistyakov denied earlier reports that businessmen assaulted interior employees on 8 December in Blagoveshchensk. According to Blagoveshchensk authorities, this assault was the reason behind a raid held in the town by OMON officers on 10-14 December, during which hundreds of residents were allegedly detained and beaten (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, 7, 10-14, and 17-19 January 2005).

"Nobody assaulted policemen -- businessmen simply resisted employees on patrol-sentry duty and refused to fulfill their requests while other citizens just helped those against whom policemen had a grievance," Chistyakov said. "There was no fight and not one policemen suffered."

...As Journalist, Human Rights Activist Believe Blagoveshchensk Raid Was Revenge For Election
"Novaya gazeta" correspondent Marat Khairullin told Ekho Moskvy on 19 January that the OMON raid in Blagoveshchensk came in the wake of a political conflict that stemmed from the results of the 2003 Bashkir presidential election, during which the vast majority of Blagoveshchensk residents voted against Murtaza Rakhimov. Khairullin said he is convinced the raid was "revenge for political elections." Interviewed by the radio station the same day, For Human Rights Bashkir branch head Ildar Isengulov agreed with this version.

Blagoveshchensk 'Victims' Hint At False Pretense For Raids...
Human rights activists held a news conference in Moscow on 20 January devoted to a public investigation of the 10-14 December security raids in Blagoveshchensk that purportedly came in response to an assault on interior employees (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 29 and 30 December 2004 and 3, 6, 7, 10-14 and 17-20 January 2005), Regnum reported on 20 January. At the event, Blagoveshchensk security-forces Sergeant Yevgenii Chistyakov -- who is among the three officers reportedly hospitalized after an angry mob assaulted them -- repeated his claim that no assault on interior employees in fact took place on 8 December in Blagoveshchensk and no policemen suffered any serious injury in the incident (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 20 January 2005). Chistyakov added that a superior urged him to check himself into a hospital and simulate injuries.

Human rights activists also presented a copy of an appeal by Blagoveshchensk Interior Board member Pavel Goltyaev to Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov and Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev dated 12 January. In it, Goltyaev said that following the 8 December incident, he was twice ordered by his superior to go to a hospital to increase the number of reported victims.

Meanwhile, the physician from the Blagoveshchensk Central Raion Hospital who was in charge of the medical treatment of Chistyakov and two other officers hospitalized after the 8 December incident, Adik Kudashev, said the men did not require hospitalization, Regnum reported on 20 January, quoting the Civil Verdict Fund. Kudashev added that when he asked why the patients were hospitalized, he was told the move was taken on the personal instructions of the hospital's director.

...As Bashkir Authorities Warn Against Perjury
Republican prosecutors investigating the alleged assault on interior employees in Blagoveshchensk are determined to bring criminal charges against anyone -- including interior employees -- who is found to have given false testimony in the case, Regnum and Bashinform reported on 20 January.

A corresponding statement was made by Bashkortostan's deputy prosecutor, Ramil Iskuzhin, in reaction to the doubts cast by Sergeant Chistyakov on the official version of the 8 December incident.

The same day, the Bashkir Interior Ministry press service issued a statement alleging that Chistyakov had been bribed by businessman Oleg Kataev, who is suspected of involvement in the alleged assault on interior employees.

Ministry spokesman Ruslan Sherefetdinov reportedly charged that Kataev suggested that Chistyakov and other purported victims of the assault be paid 150,000 rubles ($5,329) to change their testimony. Sherefetdinov accused some of seeking to " use events in Blagoveshchensk as a political card."

Meanwhile, Russian Interior Ministry spokesman Valerii Gribakin told the above-mentioned press conference in Moscow on 20 January that "no persecution will be undertaken against Chistyakov since this [statement] was his civic position, all the more so now that he is a former interior employee."

Protestors Demand Bashkir President's Dismissal
A crowd of demonstrators gathered in downtown Ufa on 22 January to protest the transformation of in-kind social benefits to cash payments, Ekho Moskvy reported the same day. Ekho Moskvy estimated the crowd at 5,000 people; the Bashkir Interior Ministry as quoted by said the number of participants was between 1,500 and 2,000; and organizers told Interfax the figure was 10,000. The protest was organized by the Bashkir Republican Fund for Development of Local Self-Government, the Bashkir National Congress, the Union of Bashkortostan's Tatar civic groups, the Rus public movement, and local branches of the Communist, Rodina, Liberal Democratic, Yabloko, and Pensioners parties. Participants demanded the dismissals of federal cabinet members German Gref, Aleksei Kudrin, and Mikhail Zurabov as well as of Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov. They also demanded that the law on the monetization of social benefits be annulled and that the election of governors by popular vote be reintroduced. Demonstrators warned that if their demands are not fulfilled by 26 February, they will launch a permanent protest action. Demonstrators shut down Ufa's main motorway for more than half an hour. Activists were also collecting signatures for a petition on holding a referendum on the direct election of city and regional leaders. Many of the demonstrators carried orange flags or otherwise displayed orange, which has been adopted by some protesters in a clear nod to the recent "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine.

Salawat Pensioners Continue Protest
More than 1,000 residents staged a demonstration in Salawat on 21 January against the federal social-benefits reform, Bashinform reported the same day. Demonstrators gathered on the square in front of the Iskra cinema demanded the annulment of the recently enacted law on the monetization of social benefits. Speaking on a local television program on 18 January, Salawat administration head Yurii Alimov said the right to free public transport would be maintained for all benefits recipients until 1 February.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Pensioners Continue Protests...
Demonstrations to protest social-benefits reform continued across the Volga-Ural region in the past week. In Samara, there were 3,000 protesters on 22 January and 1,000 on 24 January, while dozens rallied on 18 and 20 January, Regnum reported. The actions were organized by Communist and Motherland with the participation of National Bolshevik Party and Komsomol. On 22 January, protesters called for the resignation of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, Regnum-VolgaInform reported the same day. In Tolyatti, some 5,000 protesters demonstrated on 19 January, headed by the Unity trade union, the For Social Justice public organization, and the National Alliance national-patriotic movement, Regnum-VolgaInform reported the same day. Some 1,000 Shadrinsk residents protested on 18 January, reported the same day. Some 500 people took part in picketing the Unified Russia office in Chelyabinsk organized by local branches of the Pensioners Party, Yabloko, and the Communists on 21 January, reported the same day. Hundreds joined demonstrations in Izhevsk on 19 January, Regnum reported the same day. Pickets were held in Penza in front of the oblast government building on 21 and 22 January, Regnum reported. Meanwhile, the Samara Industrial Raion court on 18 January found not guilty Samara Komsomol member Aleksei Ivanov and For Defense Of Electors' Rights association activist Aleksandr Lashmankin, who were arrested on 15 January at a demonstration during which pensioners blocked streets protesting the social-benefits reform, Regnum-VolgaInform reported on 18 January.

�As Authorities Give In To Demands
The Kurgan city Duma extended free public transportation for pensioners and veterans till the end of March, reported on 19 January. The same was done in Shadrinsk, Kurgan Oblast. The Chavash government has extended free transportation through the end of the year, Regnum reported on 24 January. In Kirov Oblast, people who previously rode for free will now pay 3 rubles ($0.1) for a ticket, Regnum reported on 21 January. Transport passes for those groups of people will cost between 190 rubles and 240 rubles in Perm, 100 rubles in Nizhnii Novgorod. Perm authorities also introduced transport passes for students that will cost between 190 rubles and 250 rubles for each kind of transport, Novyi region (Perm) reported on 24 January. Compensations for use of transport will be doubled to 100 rubles as of 1 February in Nizhnii Novgorod, while in Samara Oblast, compensations will be increased by 140 rubles to 450-560 rubles, Regnum reported on 19 and 21 January.

Chelyabinsk Motherland Party Members Join Hunger Strike
Two of the seven participants in a hunger strike by members of the Chelyabinsk branch of the Motherland party gave up the strike for health reasons, reported on 24 January. At the same time, Chelyabinsk Oblast Legislative Assembly deputy and leader of Motherland in the oblast Aleksandr Berestov joined the strike. Started on 22 January, the strike was intended to support a hunger strike held by party leader Dmitrii Rogozin and other Motherland State Duma deputies in Moscow to seek moratorium on the social-benefits reform and dismissal of federal ministers Mikhail Zurabov, Aleksei Kudrin, and German Gref.

Nizhnii Newspaper Sued For Extremist Calls
The Nizhnii Novgorod prosecutor's office filed a criminal case on 11 January accusing the newspaper "Pravo-zashchita," which is published by the Society for Russian-Chechen Friendship (ORChD) in Nizhnii Novgorod, of promoting extremist activity, Regnum-NTA reported on 21 January. On 20 January, documents were seized from the "Pravo-Zashchita" office. Contracts with the paper's reporters in Chechnya containing their addresses were among the seized documents.

The same day, newspaper editor in chief and ORChD Information Center head Stanislav Dmitrievskii was interrogated. The newspaper has published appeals by Chechen leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Akhmed Zakaev calling for a peaceful solution for the Russian-Chechen conflict.

On 21 January, Amnesty International expressed its concern with the situation around ORChD in Nizhnii Novgorod. It warned about the "trend of pressuring human rights defenders, activists, and independent journalists by the Russian authorities."

ORChD is financed by U.S. National Endowment for Democracy fund.

Journalist Persecuted For Unpublished Article
The Saratov Oblast prosecutor's office on 20 January detained well-known journalist and political scientist Eduard Abrosimov, RosBalt reported the next day. The reason for the detention was information in a draft article by Abrosimov investigators found in a reporter's e-mail that a prosecutor's office's investigator took a bribe in the course of an investigation. The article had been published before Abrosimov's detainment but this allegation was dropped by the author.

Fourth Hunger Strike Finishes In Ivdel
Fifty-nine workers at Ivdel Hydrolyze Plant (IGZ) in Sverdlovsk Oblast ended their six-day hunger strike on 21 January, reported the same day. Ivdel Mayor Petr Sokolyk said the strikers have been paid several years' back wages totaling some 1.7 million rubles. Four strikers who were hospitalized are still in the hospital. This was the fourth hunger strike at the plant in the past two months. IGZ still owes its employees some 10 million rubles.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova