“We will arrange another Chernobyl”

Publish date: November 9, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

--You will get the second Chernobyl here in the North. More frightening than the first one. Do remember, we have nuclear-powered subs on our hands, said one worker at a gathering of military shipyard employees on the Kola Peninsula last week.

In late October, some 8.6 million USD arrived in the Kola region to cover salary arrears to the employees of the military shipyards there. Although this is a substantial amount of money, the sum would cover less then half of the salaries owed the workers, thus leaving the situation largely unresolved.

At a meeting in Murmansk in the end of October, the workers were treated to clumsy statements from the county administration, describing such perspectives as putting the military shipyards on civilian tracks. The workers did not feel reassured.

On two occasions, in December 1995 and in February 1997, the employees of the naval shipyard in Polyarny had blocked a newly repaired nuclear-powered submarine from leaving. On October 1 this year, the workers at Naval Repair Yard no. 82 on the Kola Peninsula blocked a road, demanding to be paid their salaries. Some of the shipyard labour unions have threatened to block traffic in the Kola Bay, or to occupy a nuclear-powered submarine and declare a hunger-strike inside. So far, the more extreme plans of action have not been carried out…

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