Another Assault on Alexei Etmanov
Last night (November 13) another assault was made on Alexei Etmanov, the leader of the trade union at the Ford-Vsevolozhsk plant outside of Petersburg. An unidentified man was waiting for Etmanov with a metal club in the entryway of his building. Alexei and his wife miraculously escaped harm.
Alexei Etmanov is known for his work as the leader and chair of the of the union at the Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Oblast, which has won fame for its successful strikes. Etmanov is also the co-chair of the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), which represents workers at auto plants and related production facilities in Moscow, Kaluga, Taganrog, Yaroslavl, Leningrad Oblast, and other regions.
Alexei is an active member of the Petersburg-based Committee for Solidarity Actions (KSD), which unites trade union and leftist political activists and is the organizer of the support campaign for the workers union at the TaGAZ plant, which is affiliated with the ITUA. The attacks on Etmanov could be linked to his work on this campaign. The ITUA has demanded recognition of the trade union at TaGAZ, the reinstatement of union committee chair Sergei Pinchukov and other members of the organization who were illegally dismissed, and the investigation of the three attacks, this past summer, on activists Alexei Gramm and Sergei Bryzgalov, who were likewise ambushed by persons unknown after they got off work.
We should remind our readers that this was not the first attack on Etmanov: on the night of November 8, three unidentified men attacked him as he made his way from a parking lot to his home. Although the bandits were armed with brass knuckles, during the struggle Alexei managed to pull out his stun pistol: the shot he fired frightened his attackers, and they ran away. The following day, Etmanov’s deputy chair, Vladimir Lesik, received an anonymous phone call. “You got a mild scolding. If you keep making trouble for us, you’ll pay with your life,” said the caller. We have just learned that other members of the KSD got similar calls.
The unions will press for a swift and complete investigation of these incidents.