The workers of the Kotlassky pulp and paper mill protested the expected takeover of the enterprise. There were practically no people on the square in front of the building of the factory’s administration 30 minutes before the meeting started. Tough guys from security, as well as managers, were standing near the entrance to the building.
The police did not show any vestiges of concern with what was happening. Joyful songs of the Soviet period were being played on the square, and joyful faces were looking out of the windows of the factory’s administration building. There were a crowd of journalists; however, they were rather surprised with the situation: they were expecting a meeting, but no such meeting was going to happen.
The workers of the factory showed up all of a sudden. Within several minutes, they filled the entire space in front of the truck, which was like a tribune. Journalists were disappointed: there were no incidents registered, as the workers were quiet and silent, simple as that. The whole event was properly coordinated: only an hour for speeches, and the meeting was guarded by the workers themselves. Each speech took no more than five or ten minutes.
The point of the speeches was as follows: the company Ilim Pulp Enterprise, which took over the factory before the events in question, lost 61% of its shares, and now the Kotlassky pulp and paper mill might be seized by bellicose groups from big business. As the workers said at the meeting, the only force that could protect the factory from “seizing, remaking, and plundering it,” are theworkers themselves.
We are not going to determine who is guilty and who is innocent in the fight of financial groups for owning the Kotlassky pulp and paper mill. The meeting in the town of Koryazhma proved another thing: the workers were realized the situation, and they were prepared for defense. They support the present administration of the factory, taking into consideration the fact that the working personnel of the factory is 15 thousand people, so it is going to be really hard to suppress them.
So far, the representatives of the new Board of Directors are trying to do some paperwork to dismiss the incumbent Director General Yu. Zayats. The governor of the Arkhangelsk region, Anatoly Yefremov, made a statement to the local press, declaring that he could only acknowledge the legal solution of the issue.
Vitaly Bratkov PRAVDA.Ru Arkhangelsk
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
On the photo: Arkhangelsk regional governor Anatoly Yefremov