Before the decision is made on a specific date when Russia will join the World Trade Organisation, it is necessary to carry out active negotiations on conditions of trade unions' membership in the WTO and assess all the social consequences of their membership. Such is the opinion of Mikhail Shmakov, the leader of Russia's Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FNPR). Speaking at the FNPR Congress in Moscow, Mr. Shmakov stressed that one of the strict conditions of Russia's membership in the WTO must be the preservation of Russian citizens' social, labour, and trade-union-related rights. Russia's membership in such an authoritative association, which comprises 147 countries, will allow Russia to become a full-fledged player in the world economy, from which it will greatly benefit. However, there are well-grounded concerns that many sectors of the Russian economy will not be able to compete internationally. "We identify with the stance of the world trade-union movement that activities of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the WTO should not lead to more inequality in the world," Mr. Shmakov stressed. Trade unions all over the world are to make "globalisation work for the majority of the working folk," the FNPR leader believes.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18