Boris Yeltsin and the miners

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Oct 5 07:50:52 MDT 2000

The New York Times, July 12, 1990, Thursday, Late Edition - Final

Soviet Miners Strike for the Day, In Hope of Power and Better Life

By FRANCIS X. CLINES, Special to The New York Times

KEMEROVO, U.S.S.R., July 11

The nation's coal miners held a daylong protest strike today to demand the
resignation of the Soviet Government and greater local powers for industry
and labor.

Though the nominal target of the protest was Prime Minister Nikolai I.
Ryzhkov, the miners' intended effect was to press President Mikhail S.
Gorbachev to ease their lives by quickly providing them with better pay,
better housing and more available goods. Hundreds of thousands of miners
displayed their most confrontational attitude yet toward the troubled
reform program of Mr. Gorbachev, saying a full-scale walkout would follow
if their situation did not improve.

The militant edge was a reminder of the three-week strike that shut down
the mines a year ago in protest against living and working conditions, a
crippling walkout costly to the Soviet economy and the Gorbachev
leadership's prestige.

Even before the protest walkout, Mr. Gorbachev charged that it was
instigated for political reasons and was not truly the miners' idea.

Today, miners rallied in the hot sun of the city square here, frequently
praising Boris N. Yeltsin, the President of Russia, the largest of the
nation's 15 republics, and playing him off against Mr. Gorbachev. The
strikers denied that they were motivated by anything but hard times and
their desire to prod the Government.

Louis Proyect
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