In Digest, Ukraine

This article originally appeared at Vesti (a Russian-language Ukrainian news portal) on Feb. 26, 2015. It was translated by J.Hawk at Fort Russ

The coal miners of Volhynia region in western Ukraine who threatened a large-scale rebellion due to a three-month delay of salaries are being inducted into the army. Eight hundred rebellious miners received notices directly from military commissars who delivered them to the coal mines.

Coal miners from western Ukraine protest non-payment of wages in Kyiv on March 3, 2015, screenshot from YouTube

Coal miners from western Ukraine protest non-payment of wages in Kyiv on March 3, 2015, screenshot from YouTube

According to the deputy mayor of Novovolynsk, Eduard Savik, the notices were delivered to coal mines no. 1 and no. 9 in Novovolynsk, which the state is planning to close. That’s where the majority of rebellious miners is employed.

The miners blocked highways several times this winter to protest government policies which does not finance the mines, but instead wants to close them and is not even paying coal miners’ salaries. Several hundred miners are planning to stage a protest in Kiev on March 3 to force the government to pay them.

“They are taking revenge for strikes—they decided to simply draft the rebels. Many of my comrades who were blocking highways and were preparing to picket the Ministry of Energy and the Cabinet of Ministers, received draft notices,” says Aleksey, a miner from Novovolynsk. “This is even worse than the 1990s. There was hunger, but there was no war. Now it’s total chaos.”

Hundreds of coal miners stage protest in Kyiv on March 3, 2015 against non-payment of wages:

Translator’s comment: The post-“Dignity Revolution” Ukraine is, for all intents and purposes, under martial law. The mobilization is a wonderful tool of political repression under a different name. This tactic can be applied to literally anyone in the country. I suppose the irony here is that Volhynia is Western Ukraine. Political repression: not just for Novorossia “vatniks” anymore. That’s the real usefulness of the war—if the war goes away, you couldn’t get away with this. It doesn’t necessarily mean there has to be any actual fighting. An Orwellian “1984”-style fake war, intended to keep the proles in line, will suffice. It seems to be sufficing for the junta. So that part makes perfect sense.

This one, however, does not. Somebody try to find sense in all of this:Ukraine’s coal powerplants are shutting down due to a shortage of coal, so the government is…closing coal mines in order to reduce government expenditures to meet IMF requirements, which in turn is forcing it to…buy imported coal which is now insanely expensive due to the drop in the value of hryvnya which…will force the government to actually spend more money than if it simply kept the mines open. Somebody nominate these people for a Nobel.

As an aside, the weak hryvnya makes Ukrainian coal very competitive internationally. There is every reason to keep these mines operating. But no. So the junta knows perfectly well how to employ political repression and start wars. When it comes to running an economy, however, it’s a different story. As the old saying goes…

Read also:

Coal miners in western Ukraine protest in Feb. 2015. Banner reads, 'Decent wages paid in proper time to miners!, photo by

Coal miners in western Ukraine protest in Feb. 2015. Banner reads, ‘Decent wages paid in proper time to miners!, photo by

Excerpt from ‘Social protest rising in Ukraine as gov’t approves harsh austerity budget‘, published in New Cold, Dec. 29, 2014:

In the Volhynia region in western Ukraine, coal miners at the Novovolyns’kyi mine went on strike on Dec. 24, demanding that past-due wages be paid and that necessary investments be made to keep their mines producing. Three days later, they blocked a road in the region to press their demands.

The Special Monitoring Mission for Ukraine of the Organisation for Security and Economic Cooperation in Europe reports the following in its latest bulletin:

On 29 December, the SMM observed a protest of miners from Chervonohrad (80km north of Lviv), who claimed they had not been paid since November and demanded support from the Lviv regional administration. Approximately 60 men from seven Chervonohrad coal mines gathered in front of the regional administration building. The SMM observed representatives of the regional authorities inviting trade union delegates into the building. The SMM observed seven police officers present during the protest, which ended peacefully.


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