Russia: Stop state repression of trade unions in Russia.

Appeal for messages of protest

Despite a Court decision to reinstate trade union leader Dmitrii Kozhnov, President of the MPRA Trade Union at Tsentrosvarmash, Tver in Russia, pressure is continuing on the trade union. Dmitrii was at first refused entry back to the factory, and was only allowed to return after court bailiffs turned up to enforce the ruling.

Now, the Prosecutor’s Office for the Zavolzhskii Region of Tver, which is supposed to gather evidence from both sides in a dispute, still refuses to recognise the existence of the trade union. During the court proceedings, the Prosecutor acted more as an Advocate for the management and complained at the judge’s decision to reinstate Dmitrii.

As a result, even though the Court has ruled that the firing of Dmitrii Kozhnov for his trade union activities was illegal, the management still believes it has a strong hand and is continuing the repression of trade union activists. One of the Prosecutor’s assistants Shukarov, for example, personally threatened several workers, saying that all members of the union would automatically be reported to the FSB Security Police and would be subject to criminal charges, forcing those workers to leave what is now characterised by the authorities as an ‘extremist’ trade union. ‘Extremist activities’ are defined as any criticism of the management or owners of ‘Tsentrosvarmash’.

The Prosecutor’s office has also attempted on ten occasions to lodge criminal proceedings against the Union’s President Dmitrii Kozhnev under article 280 Chapter 1 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (Public calls for extremist activity) on the grounds that the trade union paper, which he publishes, contains criticism of the management and calls for workers to defend their class interests. Even the FSB Security Police found this too much and, following investigation, has refused to open criminal proceedings.

Please send protests to the Tver Regional Procuror

Address: Russian Federation 170100, Tver, ul Simeonovskaya 27

Tel: +7 (4822) 50-60-11

Fax: +7(4822) 32-05-03


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July 2009