Kirill Ukraintsev, secretary of the Courier delivery workers’ union, was arrested in April 2022 following a very popular strike movement in Moscow. Since then he has been kept in prison, in defiance of Russian law which limits preventive deprivation of liberty to a maximum of 6 months, his trial being constantly postponed and sent to increasingly distant courts. On February 1, he appeared in court in a small provincial town near Moscow, in Sergiev Posad, out of public view.
Kirill was sentenced to 1 year and 4 months in a penal colony.
But as he was already credited with this length of stay during his preventive detention, he was immediately released.
This is a common practice when Power no longer wants to keep a person behind bars, but also does not want to recognize the arrest as illegal. [[Translators’ note: The fact that the Power uses this trick to give an appearance of legality to its arbitrary practices is common in all countries of the world, not only in Russia…]
Said Shamkhalov, another president of the « Courier » union, was arrested by police in November, allegedly on suspicion of theft. As there was no proof (there couldn’t be!), the activist had to be released after questioning.
The union of health workers « Action » is also particularly in the crosshairs of Power. In St. Petersburg Vladimir Baranov, anesthetist-resuscitator at Sestroretsks City Hospital No. 40, came under pressure from the authorities: he was summoned for questioning where he was falsely accused of drug trafficking, after which he was given a summons to the military registration and enlistment office.
Early in the morning of December 21, while Baranov was at work, the police came to his house and demanded that his wife open the door to the house. The « Action » union claims that the police insisted that the doctor’s wife let them in for a search, threatening to break down the door, but refusing to reveal the number and name of the investigator. The next day, Vladimir was « invited » to an interrogation, where he learned that he was a witness in a criminal case for the illegal production and sale of drugs (Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In all likelihood, the police raid the day before was intended to conceal drugs at Baranov’s home to forge false evidence against him.
On leaving the police station, they tried to give Baranov a summons to the military registration and enlistment office, but he refused it.
As soon as the « Action » trade union made an official statement to hospital number 40 in April 2021, the management declared war on it: a « series of complaints » were immediately filed against the president of the trade union organization, Vladimir Baranov, to the Kurortny district prosecutor’s office, all of which were dismissed after investigation. Then a criminal case was opened against Vladimir Baranov for spreading « fake news » about the coronavirus due to an interview about ambulance problems during COVID-19. The investigation did not reveal the commission of illegal acts by the activist. On the other hand, thanks to Baranov’s participation, it was possible to prove an increased danger class and reduce the working week of field staff to 36 hours.
In Bashkiria, autonomous republic of the Urals, it is the turn of Anton Orlov, ambulance driver and regional manager of the « Action » union to be the subject of Power manipulation. He was sentenced in September 2022 to 6 and a half years in prison for so-called « diversion of fuel » in the company where he works. In fact, he is mainly blamed for his activism which has made it possible to obtain a certain number of successes for workers in the medical sector in this republic. So, in the Birsk emergency department alone, the following results were obtained:
payment of Covid premiums to paramedics and paramedics;
payment of unpaid salaries of ambulance workers;
Double pay for weekend work;
Maternity leave with maintenance of the same salary level.
The « Action » union is distinguished by the use of the « work-to-rule strike », which consists in working by strictly applying to the letter all the work procedures, which are often excessively bureaucratic, which often amounts to paralyzing the running a business or service out of overzealousness. (see our pamphlet « METHODS OF STRUGGLE – ANARCHOSYNDICALIST TACTICS » http://cnt-ait.info/2019/12/21/methods-of-struggle-anarchosyndicalist-tactics/).
Anton having appealed his sentence, a new trial was held on February 1 which reduced his sentence by … 2 months, bringing it to 6 years and 3 months in prison! This is clearly a travesty of justice, which was delivered the day before the announcement of a work-to-rule strike by paramedics to protest understaffing and unpaid working hours. If you want to know more about the case of Anton Orlov, watch the video “6 years in prison for a union” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA_30F6vG9w). (English subtitles included).
As we can see, this repression targets union activists who, among others, have already organized strikes. Therefore, everything that is happening can only be considered as the will of the Russian authorities, under cover of war, to suppress the elements of the labor movement that still exist in this country!
Based on information from the Courier and Action unions and the Russian section of the AIT-IWA (KRAS-AIT)
 See our calls for solidarity: “Freedom for Kirill Ukraintsev, union victim of the arbitrariness of the Russian regime!
Posted on February 7, 2023 | By CNT-AIT |
Translation thanks to WSA-AIT