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.
IMF calls for an immediate and transparent investigation into the recent assaults and threats against ITUA leaders and activists.
RUSSIA: Alarming news was received from the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), an affiliate of the International Metalworkers Federation regarding a recent attack against Alexey Etmanov, ITUA co-chairman and chairman of the ITUA primary organization at Ford enterprise in Vsevolozhsk.
Etmanov was assaulted on the evening of November 8 when he returned home from the second shift at the Ford plant. He parked his car and was walking in the direction of his home. On the street, three assailants armed with brass knuckles ran towards Etmanov and without a word assaulted him.
During the scuffle Etmanov managed to remove his rubber bullet gun and made a shot. The assailants escaped. Originally, Etmanov believed these were ordinary robbers. However the next day the deputy chairman of Etmanov, Vladimir Lesik, received a call on his mobile phone and was alerted that the night incident had no relation to a robbery or a plunder. “You were softly scolded. But if you continue to create obstacles for us, we will take away your life”, threatened the anonymous caller.
Earlier, on June 24 and July 26, Alexei Gramm and Sergei Bryzgalov, activists of the ITUA primary organization at Taganrog enterprise OAO “TagAZ” producing Hyundai cars, also became victims of assault after their participation in a picket at the entrance of the enterprise. Gramm and Bryzgalov were trying to get information about wages and compensations as well as demanding management to recognize their union.
In a statement regarding the assaults, IMF General Secretary Marcello Malentacchi warned of IMF’s grave concern over “the authorities’ indifference to violations of fundamental human and labour rights and the failure to act promptly and effectively to ensure these rights are fully upheld and protected” and demanded “an immediate, unbiased and transparent investigation into the facts of attacks against trade union leaders Alexei Etmanov, Alexei Gramm and Sergei Bryzgalov, as well as the death threats made to Vladimir Lesik.”
Click here to read the full text of the statement.
IMF is urging affiliates to send letters calling for an immediate and transparent investigation into these attacks to:
Mr. Yuriy Chaika General Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation 125993, Moscow, GSP-3, 15a B. Dimitrovka str. RUSSIA Fax: +7 (495) 692-96-00
Mr. Sergey Romanyuk Public Prosecutor of Leningrad region 194044, Saint Petersburg, av. Lesnoi, str. 20, kor. 12 RUSSIA Fax: +7 812 542 00 15
Mr. Valeriy Kuznetsov Public Prosecutor of Rostov region 344082, Rostov region Rostov-na-Donu, per. Bratskiy, 11 RUSSIA Fax: +7 863 262-45-25
Ms. Tatiana A. Golikova Minister of Health Care and Social Development 127994, GSP-4, Moscow, per. Rahmanovskiy, 3 RUSSIA Fax: +7 495 628 09 48
To send solidarity support letters to the ITUA, email: email@example.com