Moscow Court Says Opposition Activist’s Arrest Legal

MOSCOW — A Moscow court has ruled that the arrest of an organizer of Russia’s mass protest on December 10 was legal, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Sergei Udaltsov, a coordinator of the opposition Left Front movement, was arrested for “illegally leaving a hospital while serving a multi-day jail term for holding an unsanctioned mass gathering in the past.”

Udaltsov was one of the organizers of a December 10 Moscow protest, one of dozens nationwide calling for fresh parliamentary elections following what protesters claim was a rigged poll on December 4.

Udaltsov was again sent from the courtroom to the hospital on December 10.

Udaltsov told RFE/RL on December 12 that his lawyers plan to appeal the ruling, and added that he is on a hunger strike.

He said several policemen are monitoring him in the hospital.

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Would-Be Homeowners In Bashkortostan On Hunger Strike

UFA, Russia — Five women in Ufa, the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, have begun a hunger strike demanding overdue apartments they have paid for, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The women want Bashkortostan’s Housing Construction Fund to sign new contracts with them specifying the exact date when the construction of their new homes will be completed.

The construction of a new apartment complex called “Green Coast” started in Ufa in 2006. People who purchased apartments before they were built were told they would be ready to move into by 2008, but construction is still in progress.

The would-be homeowners already staged a hunger strike in March. The local authorities then pledged to intervene and allocated additional funds to expedite the completion of the complex.

However, the construction company is demanding additional money from the buyers, saying that property prices have changed since 2006.

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Guardian archive, 27/11/1920: Miss S.Pankhurst signs her letter to Lenin: "With Communist greetings"

“Dear Comrade, The situation is moving in a revolutionary direction more swiftly, but of course we are far away yet. The prices of necessaries are rising, but the cost of living is not totally supposed to have risen this month. Unemployment is now acute, and the unemployed are restive. One of Lansbury’s meetings was broken up by members of my party because he advised peaceful methods, and the crowd supported the young dockers, seamen, and others of my party who opposed him. Unemployed march to factories, enter them, make speeches, and speak of using them. Ex-soldiers arm and drill. Do not exaggerate these things—they are not formidable yet.

“Unemployed smashed windows and stole jewels last Monday, when the London Mayors led them to Westminster. The Communist parties alone are neither big enough nor bold enough to rise to the occasion . . .

“In Coventry a member of our party, Emery, leads a campaign for setting aside a factory to work for Soviet Russia, the factory to be controlled by the workers. In ‘The Dreadnought’ I tried to set a bolder policy and should be discussing it with my executive this afternoon, but I was arrested last Thursday and am under £2,000 bail not to meet, or communicate with any of our people responsible for publishing the paper till my trial on Thursday, so I can only communicate indirectly.

“I expect six months’ imprisonment. I considered a hunger strike, but I am afraid that weapon is destroyed now since the Government is letting the Irish hunger-strikers die.

“I find all the Communist parties, except Gallagher’s Scottish Communist Labour party, disinclined for unity. Parliamentarism and the tameness of the B.S.P. crowd are sore points with our party, and I would have had a hard struggle to bring them round. Now I shall not be there, it seems.

“I have done less than I should in seeing people, because I have had a most terrible struggle since I returned home. Our press where our paper is printed was suffering because ‘The Dreadnought’ owed money. Whilst I was away an account ran too long, and a creditor got a writ of payment against us in the court. Then all the creditors took fright. On my return the brokers were in twice in one week, and I have been fighting the situation ever since.

“The Third International in Moscow heard my plea when I was there, and promised relief. It does not come. This week the South Wales mining comrades sent for 6,000 extra copies of ‘The Dreadnought’. I borrowed paper from the ‘Herald’. At present I have no paper for next week. It is not pleasant to go to prison so!

“With Communist greetings.

“SYLVIA PANKHURST.”

Russian Opposition Activist Released After Hunger Strike

MOSCOW — A Russian opposition activist who went on hunger strike after being sentenced to 10 days’ administrative detention was released early on October 20 after his health deteriorated, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Sergei Udaltsov, a coordinator for the opposition movement Left Front, was sentenced on October 13 after being found guilty of resisting police.

He told RFE/RL after the verdict was pronounced that he considered it unjust and would therefore start a “dry hunger strike,” meaning he would not eat or drink.

Udaltsov’s health deteriorated this week and he was taken to a Moscow hospital for treatment. Doctors then released him to recuperate at home.

Udaltsov told RFE/RL he felt normal and his health had “stabilized” after the hospital treatment. He said he was very surprised to have been released three days early.

Udaltsov was one of the organizers of the opposition Day of Wrath protest in Moscow on October 12.

He was arrested that day after he and other Day of Wrath participants tried to march to the president’s office to submit their written demands to the presidential chief of staff.

The Moscow authorities gave permission for the Day of Wrath, but only as a gathering, not as a march, which is why police intervened and arrested several activists.

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Russian Chemical Plant Workers Strike Over Wage Arrears

DALNEGORSK, Russia — Some 150 workers at a boron-producing plant in Russia’s Far East have gone on strike to demand their unpaid salaries, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The workers at the Dalnegorsk plant, one of the world’s leading producers of boric acid and boron, went on strike on September 28.

The strikers also want the federal authorities to intervene and nationalize the plant, which is the major employer for the town’s population of 50,000.

The plant’s 3,000-strong workforce has staged numerous protests, strikes and pickets over the past two years to demand overdue salaries and that the plant not be closed.

Sergei Matveyev, the leader of the plant’s labor unions, told RFE/RL that the plant’s administration owes the workers some 21 million rubles ($661,000). He added that the workers have been urging the ruling United Russia party, to which some members of the plant’s management belong, to take the situation under its control and resolve the workers’ problems, but without success.

Matveyev said the workers are ready to begin a hunger strike.

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Russia to press for release of activist held in Moldova

Moscow will continue to press for the release of Eduard Bagirov, a Russian activist, blogger and writer detained in Moldova in June on charges of instigating riots, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

“The Russian side is seriously concerned by the Moldovan judicial authorities’ decision to extend Bagirov’s custody for another 30 days,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

Eduard Bagirov was detained on June 16 on suspicion of organizing mass riots in Moldova on April 7, 2009, when a crowd of protesters forced their way into the parliament building and the presidential administration. A court ruled that Bagirov must remain in custody pending trial.

Bagirov wrote in his blog that during his 90-day detention he was interrogated only once for some 20 minutes.

On Tuesday he said that he would go on hunger strike starting from Wednesday to protest his detention.

The Russian Public Chamber said in late June the blogger is being held in a Chisinau pretrial detention facility in conditions that do not comply with international standards. Later, Bagirov was transferred to Chisinau’s Prison 13.

Russian Homeowners Launch Protest Hunger Strike

KRASNOYARSK, Russia — Prospective homeowners in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk are demanding apartments or their money back — and have gone on hunger strike to push their point, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The 11 people who went on hunger strike on September 14 are demanding that the Stroitekhnika construction company either provide the apartments they have paid for or refund their money.

Stroitekhnika halted the construction of seven high-rise apartment blocks in Krasnoyarsk due to financial problems. A total of 900 local families have been fighting for several years to get their money back or the keys to their new apartments.

Aleksandr Chervyakov, a spokesman for Stroitekhnika’s general director, told RFE/RL that the hunger strike came as “an unexpected surprise.”

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