Tag Archives: Alexei Etmanov

Bring the Noise! (November 14, Moscow, Chistye Prudy)

Two years ago a wave of terror against social activists and journalists rolled over Russia. Newspaper editor and activist Mikhail Beketov was severely beaten in Khimki. In Moscow, persons unknown attacked sociologist and activist Carine Clément. In Vsevolozhsk (Leningrad Region), independent trade union leader Alexei Etmanov was also attacked by unknown assailants on multiple occasions. In Yakutia, trade union activist Valentin Urusov was framed by local police on a drugs charge, tried, and sentenced to several years in prison. In response to this terror, social activists held a demonstration at Chistye Prudy in Moscow that was attended by a few hundred people.

Two years have passed. Police have still not identified and arrested the people who assaulted Beketov, Clément, and Etmanov. Valentin Urusov is still serving time in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Today we are witnessing a repeat of the events of two years ago. Environmentalist Konstantin Fetisov has been severely beaten in Khimki. Unknown assailants have attacked and severely beaten journalist Oleg Kashin. The authorities are trying to frame antifascist activists for crimes they did not commit. In Zhukovsky, thugs beat up journalist Anatoly Adamchuk.

We believe that these new tragedies are the result of apathy in our society, which two years ago was unable to force authorities to find and punish the guilty parties in those dark events. The time has come to put an end to this, for if this time the criminals are not found, the atmosphere of impunity will untie the hands of all other scumbags once and for all. Instead of being shocking exceptions, these acts of terror will become a matter of everyday practice.

At 2:00 p.m. on November 14 we ask you to come join us at Chistye Prudy in Moscow. We realize that there is no point in long speeches. It is unlikely that anyone can learn something new, something that has not been published in the Internet. And so we suggest that you bring with you anything that can make a lot of noise as a symbol of your rage and indignation.

Silence and calm is exactly the reaction aimed for by those who jail, cripple, and murder people who disagree with the existing order.

http://khimkibattle.org/

http://www.ecmo.ru/

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Alexei Etmanov: An Appeal for Solidarity with Russian Auto Workers

The following solidarity appeal by Alexei Etmanov, co-chair of Russia’s Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), to Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the International Metalworkers’ Federation, was published on the ITUA website yesterday. You can read the original text in Russian here, as well as download the English translation (which we have reproduced below) for redistribution and reposting.  The IMF has previously expressed their solidarity with the ITUA. You can read more about that here.


Jyrki Raina
General Secretary
International Metalworkers’ Federation
Geneva, Switzerland 

Dear Brother,

More than once did Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) receive brotherly support and solidarity from the IMF and its affiliates. However, worsening situation with basic labour rights in Russia forces us to turn to IMF again.

Recently ITUA shop floor organizations and their members have faced increasing pressure from government authorities, particularly from the local Departments for the Prevention of Extremism created by the Investigative Committee at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, local Prosecutor’s Offices themselves and from the Departments of Internal Affairs. Pressure from employers has also increased. It is our view that this pressure is aimed at suppressing ITUA activities at the national level and destroying shop floor organizations created by workers.

We would like to draw your attention to the following facts.

What raises special concern is the fact that a number of leaflets issued and distributed by the activists of the ITUA union at Tsentrosvarmash plant in Tver, Russia were included in the ‘Federal List of Extremist Materials’, composed by the Ministry of Justice. [Editor’s note: these materials are indeed on the list under nos. 439, 441—444, 446—447.] The materials were deemed ‘extremist’ by Zavolzhsky District Court in Tver on August 28, 2009, but ITUA representatives were not informed of that case. Union members learned about the court ruling only after the ‘List of Extremist Materials’ had been published on the official web page of the Ministry of Justice. To date, union activists still haven’t been able to get hold of the court ruling – that’s why they can’t challenge it in court. As for the leaflets, they solely deal with labour rights protection: creating shop floor organization, demanding fair payment for night work, union’s anti-crisis programme, and fight against precarious employment.

Federal Security Service (FSS), a Russian special service, considered initiating a case against Dmitry Kozhnev, chairman of the Tsentrosvarmash union, under item 1 of article 280 (‘Public call for extremist activity’) of the Russian Criminal Code. This didn’t happen. However, in April and June Kozhnev was summoned by FSS for ‘interviews’. FSS officials didn’t give him the case materials, but asked him to sign post factum about ten official notices on the dismissal of a criminal case.

Instead of protecting the union from rights violations and employer’s repressions, Tver Prosecutor’s Offices themselves put pressure on union activists who create shop floor organizations. Thus, in November 2009 activists of the unions at Tver Wagon Building plant and Tsentrosvarmash V. Kornilov, D. Kozhnev, E. Vinogradov, V. Sergeev and V. Kremko were summoned by Zavolzhsky District Prosecutor’s Office for giving testimony (the summons were given by employers). Activists were asked questions about the procedure of creating shop floor organizations, their activities, number and names of their members, preparing and distributing union materials, union leaders’ travels and meetings.

In October 2009 ITUA co-chairman and the chairman of the union at AvtoVAZ plant in Togliatti, Russia Petr Zolotarev was twice summoned by the Department for the Prevention of Extremism (so‑called Center ‘E’) prior to the mass protests organized by the union. Center ‘E’ officials questioned Zolotarev about the union’s planned activities. They also asked who will take part in those activities, what demands will be made and who will address the protesters. In July 2009 Zolotarev was returning by train from a union meeting in Moscow. When the train approached the station ‘Zhigulevskoe More’, several Center ‘E’ officials joined Zolotarev in his compartment. They questioned him about his trip and meetings in Moscow. Zolotarev feels that he’s been under surveillance all the time.

In February 2009 chairman of ITUA union at GM Auto plant in Saint-Petersburg, Russia Evgeny Ivanov was also summoned by Center ‘E’, where the officers tried to induce him to ‘cooperate’. For them ‘cooperation’ meant informing Center ‘E’ about the work of the plant and the activities of the unions in the city and the surrounding area. The same offer was made to ITUA co-chairman and the chairman of the union at Ford MC plant in Vsevolozhsk, Russia Alexei Etmanov.

In the meantime, union members and activists face ongoing pressure from employers. After the union organized so-called ‘Italian strikes’ (work-by-the-rules) on October 21 and November 11-20 at GM Auto plant in Saint-Petersburg (the demands were: switching premiums for the increases in guaranteed pay, pay increases, more freedom in using holiday time, abolishment of summarized annual recording of the working time and introduction of 40-hour work week), chairman of the union at the plant Evgeny Ivanov and union activist O. Shafikova were fired. Union activists A. Tsaregorodsev and I. Dorosevich face increasing pressure (the administration forced them to combine tasks without additional payment, moved them to unfamiliar work site and took disciplinary action against them). Management representatives propagandize against the union at shop floors.

Prosecutor’s Offices and other authorities don’t take any action regarding employers’ illegal activities. Over a year ago many ITUA leaders and shop floor activists were physically assaulted, but the investigation still hasn’t resulted in anything at all.

All these facts raise serious concern about the fate of ITUA, its shop floor organizations, activists and members. All-Russian Confederation of Labour (ACL) has prepared a detailed report based on the evidence of trade union rights violations, ITUA cases included. A complaint to ILO against Russian Federation is being prepared. However, the situation changes very fast, and in the unfavorable direction. This is why we turn to the IMF, asking to look for an effective response to the attack against its affiliate. We ask IMF to launch a global campaign of solidarity with ITUA.

Help and support from the international labour movement, particularly from our brotherly unions welded together by the IMF can secure the survival of our organization and the personal safety of its members and activists today.

We are ready to answer any questions regarding the facts mentioned above and render to IMF all the additional materials we have on this case.

In Solidarity,

Alexei Etmanov,
Co-Chairman, ITUA

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Russia: Stop Attacks on Auto Workers Union

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Russia: Stop attacks on auto workers union

Alexei Etmanov.Alexei Etmanov (pictured), the leader of the Ford-Vsevelozhsk trade union and co-chairman of Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) has been the target of two brutal attacks on November 8 and 13. An anonymous caller following the first assault contacted the union and warned Etmanov to stop his union activities or “we will take away your life,” the caller said. No one has been charged for the crimes and an investigation has been suspended. Other members of ITUA have been assaulted, including the leaders of the local trade union organisation of Taganrog automobile plant, Alexei Gramm and Sergei Brizgalov. Those incidents were not investigated either. 

The International Metalworkers Federation is carrying out a campaign to protect the leaders of ITUA, demanding that the Russian authorities conduct a complete investigation of all cases of the assaults and to punish the guilty ones – both those that took part and those who ordered the crimes to be committed.

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Please follow the link at the top of this message to sign the petition in support of Russian auto industry unionists.

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Moscow: Free Concert in Support of Assaulted Russian Activists (December 1)

listovkaNO TO THE PERSECUTION OF SOCIAL AND LABOR ACTIVISTS!

NO TO THE REPRESSION OF TRADE UNIONS!

NO TO THE WHITE TERROR AGAINST THE LEFTIST MOVEMENT!
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨

FREE CONCERT

December 1, 2008, 9:00 p.m. Proekt OGI, Moscow (Potapovsky per. 8/12, bldg. 2; Metro: Chistie Prudy)

Chronicle of a Single Day (November 13, 2008): 

The second attack on Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; the third attack on Carine Clément, director of the Institute of Collective Action; the brutal beating of Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest.

The beatings and murders of labor and social activist is the quiet civil war of our time, a corporate White Terror, a strike by the wealthy and the powers-that-be against the leaders of social movements that in one way or another raise questions related to property and ownership. Our task is to call this process by its real name and publicize what is happening. Each of us will in the end be forced to take sides and it is better if we do this right now. We are on the side of the oppressed.

Slaughter 2017, Lesorubi [Woodcutters], Zombiderevenshchina [Rural Zombie], Vladimir Aigistov and others will perform sets of political new hardcore, punk rock, country metal, and protest songs.

The concert is organized by the >Vpered>> (Forward) Socialist Movement. Entry is free.

 

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The Attacks on Russian Activists: Who Stands to Gain?

We here at Chtodelat News are pleased to announce the launch of an important new online resource for social activists in Russia and those of you who read Russian and are interested in keeping abreast of how the fight for civil, labor, environmental, housing and human rights is going in the world’s largest country. Dvizhenie—“(The) Movement”—is the brainchild of three friends and allies: Artem Marchenkov, Vlad Tupikin, and Alexander Bikbov. In recognition of their timely hard work, we are pleased to publish a translation of an essay by Alexander Bikbov that was just posted on Dvizhenie. Bikbov reflects on the recent series of attacks on labor and social activists in Russia and asks the question that should be on everyone’s mind: who stands to gain from these cowardly crimes?

 

Alexander Bikbov, sociologist

Crimes against Justice: Who Stands to Gain?

The events of the last several days—a series of attacks on [Russian] activists—are acutely alarming. It is not political hierarchs who have been attacked or rival businessmen or professional militants from one or another side of the barricades. No, these attacks have been directed against people who have expressed their sense of fairness and justice publicly: in print and at demonstrations, by defending their own rights and the rights of others, by taking honest, consistent stances at their workplaces. The perpetrators are unidentifiable; their masters are anonymous. These are blows from the dark. Continue reading

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End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

Public Statement on the Attacks against Social Activists

Recently, criminal attacks against the leaders of trade union and social movements have clearly increased. Among the latest such incidents, we should note the attacks against Carine Clément, a member of the working group and a leader of the Union of Coordinating Councils; Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest; and Sergei Fedotov, leader of the deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region. In addition, a great many activists fighting the infill construction that is happening in all our cities have been attacked. There have been murders, in particular, of antifascist activists.

This is not a random phenomenon, but a clear trend: active citizens who try to restore justice and defend their legal rights are more and more often subjected to brute force. With no other arguments at its disposal, the opposite resorts to criminal methods. While it is clear that in each situation it is a different group of people who commissions these crimes, the overall tendency demonstrates that excellent conditions for the further escalation of this brutal method of “social dialogue” have been created in Russia today. These conditions include lawlessness, the lack of criminal liability for violations of the law by state officials or members of the ruling elite, universal corruption, and the hypercentralization of authority in the absence of any form of control from below. Many cases of “political” attacks on activists have still not been investigated, and the guilty parties not be found, which gives the assailants a sense of impunity and thus provokes further crimes.

We say, Enough! Continue reading

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The Anti-Activist Terror Continues: Another Attack on Alexei Etmanov

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.

Continue reading

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