July, 2000

Speech from the Russian delegate at the
6th International Meeting of Trade Unionists


I am a construction worker from Leningrad and I greet you on behalf of the workers union "Zashita Truda" (Defense of Labor) of Russia.

First let me thank the organizers of the conference for the invitation to the Russian trade union "Zashita Truda" to attend this conference.

All bourgeois mass media have distorted the real essence of the social-class situation in our country. Therefore I will briefly touch on the state of the workers movement in Russia.

The Russian workers as a result of the petty-bourgeois decomposition during the period of Khrushchevite and Brezhnevite rule lost their class vigilance and in the end had to face helplessly the "wonders" of capitalism. We are today experiencing what the concept of owner, of bourgeois bureaucrat means. Mass unemployment, the expansion of crime, lawlessness, the arbitrariness of the bourgeoisie and misery have become facts of our everyday life.

However, with this the bourgeoisie has exposed capitalism in the eyes of the working class. The workers, facing open exploitation and the arbitrariness of the class enemy, have been forced to organize to defend their interests. Therefore the workers movement is at a level of the defense of its economic interests; the union has become the main form of class organization. "Zashita Truda" is an interregional workers union that is meant to organize the workers of all trades into a federation. The statutes of "Zashita Truda" do not allow all representatives of the bourgeoisie join it.

Our union was founded relatively recently, however it already has about 20,000 members. By organizing, the workers move to forms of active resistance for their own interests. Lately the class struggle has reached extreme forms in which the bourgeoisie uses armed force against unarmed workers. The whole world learned about the brave struggle of the Leningrad workers, the miners of Kuzbass, the workers of Ural.

In order to stop the increasing power of the organized struggle of the working class, the bourgeois authorities are trying to change the labor code in order to prevent further growth of the workers movement. The government of the bourgeoisie hand-in-hand with the "yellow" unions is trying to adopt in the State Duma a law that is in essence fascist since it basically liquidates the right to organize unions in production and puts no restraints on the will of the bourgeoisie.

I will give some excerpts from the draft:

1. The administration may fire any worker without any reason, motivation or explanation. The union has no right to interfere here.

2. The workers may be fined for exposing the wrongdoings of the administration. This is concealed in the sentence "For discrediting the administration in the eyes of its clients". The union is deprived of any access to information to about the performance of the company, it is deprived of headquarters, of inspecting the workplace, getting union dues through the account of the company. The administration has the right to fire the whole collective. Vacation is reduced to 4 days. There is no limit to forced overtime work. The system of penalties liquidated in 1917 is resurrected. Fines may be up to 50% of wages.

These are selected excerpts of the fascist-bourgeois draft of the Labor code that is meant to transform the working class of Russia into a crowd of slaves deprived of rights.

Our Union "Zashita Truda" organized a general strike on May 17th to protest the new draft of the Labor code in which over one hundred thousand workers participated throughout the country.

I call on the delegates of the 6th international conference of trade unionists and address the deputies of the State Duma of Russia on this issue and also the deputy of the Russian Duma, co-chairman of "Zashita Truda" Shein Oleg Vasilevitch at the address:

103265 Russia
Okhotnii Riad, dom 1

On April 5, around 6 pm, Aleksei Rybalko, leader of "Zashita Truda" of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan and local Soviet deputy, was attacked in the street by people in police uniform, who without any warning or explanation grabbed him from behind, broke his arm and pushed him into a car, where his assailants continued to beat him badly. As the result of this blow he temporarily lost vision and orientation. Obviously, the attackers did this so that Aleksei could not identify them afterwards.

Once in the car, three thugs began methodically beating their victim with clubs, trying to hit him in the head. They beat Aleksei Rybalko until he lost consciousness and then threw him out of the car in front of an apartment building.  There he was very quickly "found again" by a police patrol.

The policemen (I.R. Yusupov, I.Z. Shaikhinurov and R.N. Bayev), at first tried to hand Aleksei over to the sobering-up station. When its personnel refused to admit him, they told Aleksei to go home, even though his eyes were injured and swollen, he could hardly see anything and his right hand was broken after he tried to protect himself from the beating.

Only when he mentioned his deputy status and requested medical help did the police officers agree to transport him to the hospital. However the physicians of Hospital #22 (traumatologists Muslimov and Suleimanov and neurosurgeons Islamov and Saubanov) refused to provide Aleksei with medical attention, prescribed another doctor, and sent him home.

Only after Rybalko`s wife had seen her husband's condition, refused to receive him in such condition and called medical emergency, he was taken again to the same hospital where the first medical aid was given to him and an x-ray of his head and hand were made.

However the physicians refused to give Rybalko the medical evidence about his injuries and the a-ray pictures. When two days later Rybalko`s wife came to the hospital looking for the evidence of her husband's treatment in the admittance records and the x-ray, she was denied access to the evidence.

This is just one more evidence that the Russian authorities have declared war on the Russian working class by fascist means of repression against workers' leaders. At present Aleksei Rybalko is in the hospital and is determined to continue the struggle after he recovers.

Having learned about my trip to the international union conference in Denmark he asked me to give greetings to the participants and to tell them that the Russian proletariat will not falter. Victory will be ours!

I call on the participants of this conference to protest to the authorities of Bashkortostan about the terror exerted on Aleksei Rybalko and to adopt a resolution condemning class terror in Russia.

It is well known that the Russian government is waging a bloody war in the republic of Chechnya. The stand of "Zashita Truda" towards this war has been expressed in the pages of "Proletarskaya Gazeta" No. 7 in the article "Class essence of the war in Chechnya" that you can find at

Long live proletarian solidarity!

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