The Kremlin’s goal is to support workers in Moscow’s iconic metropolis, who support imprisoned opposition leaders

The Kremlin’s goal is to support workers in Moscow’s iconic metropolis, who support imprisoned opposition leaders



Putin’s government continues to expand its suppression of political dissent, entangled with one of Russia’s most iconic and respected institutions: Moscow’s famous ornate subway system.

In the past week, dozens (or even hundreds) of train drivers, mechanics, conductors, and other public transportation workers were dragged to the front of managers and told to resign or be fired.

The reason seems to be that they or their family members signed on the website requesting that Alexei Navalny, the arch enemy of President Vladimir Putin, be released from prison.

Their names were supposed to be confidential, but somehow the information was obtained by Russian security services.

Sergey Polyantsov, 37, said: “What we all have in common is that all of us have registered on the “Free Navy” website. For the past 17 years, he has been Drive the train on the subway.

Polyantsov said that he was told later last week that he would be fired and there was nothing he could do about it.

Sergey Polyantsov has been a subway driver in Moscow for 17 years. He was told last week that he would be fired after registering on the “Free Navy” website, calling on the Russian government to release the opposition leader Alexei Navalny from prison. (Submitted by Sergey Polyantsov)

Prosecutors take action to shut down Navalny’s operation

Navalny, a 44-year-old opposition leader and lawyer, took several years to discover and expose a huge kickback and corruption scheme involving Putin and his senior Kremlin deputy.

A video titled Putin PalaceThe website is reportedly owned by Russian leaders and has a huge mansion on the Black Sea, which has been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube.

Navani survived an assassination attempt in August last year. Most Western countries believe that this was carried out by Russian secret service personnel. He was taken to Germany for treatment.

When he betrayed the Kremlin and returned to Russia in January, he was quickly sentenced to prison and many of his senior organizers were placed under house arrest.

Navani appeared in a cage in Moscow’s Babskindsky District Court on February 20. He was sentenced to prison after returning to Russia from Germany in January, and he received medical treatment after being assassinated. (Alexander Semlyanichenko/Associated Press)

In recent weeks, prosecutors have taken action to shut down Navani’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and dozens of political institutions across Russia, declaring that his network is an extremist organization, equivalent to al Qaeda or the Islamic State terrorist organization.

Polyantsov told CBC News: “I have never seen anything like this, and I never thought it would happen in an organization like the Moscow Metro.”

He said that his annual salary is about 25,000 Canadian dollars, which is a middle-class income in Russia.

Metro tourist attraction

Moscow’s subway is one of the busiest bus systems in the world, carrying nearly 7 million passengers a day, but it is known for the gorgeous and artistic design of many of its stations.

The subway is based on colorful granite floors, mosaics and detailed painted ceilings, as well as statues of famous Russian cultural and military figures. It is a tourist attraction in itself.

Mayakovskaya Metro Station, opened in 1938, is considered to be one of the most impressive stations in Moscow’s public transport system. (Colin Seminov/CBC)

The system is also known for its high efficiency. For most of the day, the waiting time between trains is two minutes or less.

Another dismissed worker, 38-year-old Alexander Ivanov (Alexander Ivanov), who has been driving trains for four years, said: “It’s hard to believe that in a workplace of this size, they would take such orders. Incredible action.”

The Metro Employees Union said that so far, 37 workers have been formally fired, and at least 30 of them are unemployed.

Other employees driving trams, buses or working on the light rail system were also attacked. The union stated that by the end of the purge, hundreds of people may be fired.

“I will sign for anything I want”

After a union meeting in Moscow earlier this week, CBC News encountered several laid-off workers. Many people seemed shocked by the sudden turn of events, while others expressed indignation at the actions of the Russian authorities.

Ivanov said: “This is political discrimination, nothing more.”

“This should not happen in the civilized world. Those who commit this crime should be punished.”

The dismissed Moscow transit worker Alexander Ivanov (Alexander Ivanov) drove a subway train for four years. He said that this is political discrimination, nothing more. (Submitted by Alexander Ivanov)

He said that the speed of the Russian authorities from imposing some form of moderate dictatorship on the people to complete repression was so fast that he was shocked.

“If someone told me three days ago that this would happen, I would say,’Yes, things here are bad, but not too bad.’ But we don’t have the answer yet.”

Nevertheless, Sergey Polyantsov (Sergey Polyantsov) when thinking about how to find another job, said that he did not regret signing the Navani petition.

“Today, they don’t like me registering on the’Free Navalny’ website. Tomorrow they will not like me subscribing to PornHub or other content. They will fire me again. I will register whatever I want,” he said defiantly.

Polyantsov in the carriage on the Moscow Metro train. He wanted to know how he would find another job, but he said he did not regret signing the pro-Navalny petition. (Submitted by Sergey Polyantsov)

Restore remote workers

A spokesperson for the union representing transit workers told Reuters that the dismissal was the result of “false accusations” and would appeal to the Moscow court.

But the judge agreed that there are few opportunities to restore workers.

Russian prosecutors and courts have repeatedly lagged behind the orders of the Kremlin and imposed severe penalties on Navani and his associates and any activities related to his anti-corruption work.

Last month, a worker painted a picture of Navalny on a wall in St. Petersburg, Russia. The message read: “Heroes of the New Era”. Navalny, currently in prison, has been a sting by the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Anton Vaganov/Reuters)

The Russian labor movement also seems to be ready to acquiesce in the Kremlin’s wishes.

At a press conference, the Moscow Metro State Unitary Enterprise, a union representing metro workers, stated that although it will try its best to provide financial support to the laid-off employees, it also “considered that it would be inappropriate to over-politicize this issue.”

The head of the Russian Federation of Labor, Boris Kravchenko, one of Russia’s top labor officials, declined to make a statement in an interview with CBC News.

The TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that any worker who feels wronged has the right to appeal through the judicial system.

“If the “Labor Law” is violated, and citizens believe that these illegal acts have occurred, they can freely apply to the prosecutor’s office.”

Economic stagnation

Ora John Reuter, an associate professor of domestic political science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, called this a “moment of instability” for Putin and his government, which may explain Putin’s trend toward more repressive measures.

In an interview with CBC News, Reuters said: “This is not the Putin prevalence between 75% and 80% three to four years ago. Now, it is hovering near historical lows.”

Thousands of people participated in a rally in support of Navani in Moscow on April 21. (Victor Berezkin/Associated Press)

“Therefore, even if they are not facing an organized and united opposition, the Kremlin is obviously worried about general dissatisfaction, especially in the context of continued economic stagnation.”

However, Reuters said that the suppression of ordinary people rather than political activists would bring risks.

“After the authoritarian regime, the authoritarian regime has appeared again and again, and we have seen how this has caused strong opposition.”

Watch | Alexei Navalny was sentenced to prison for breach of parole:

A Russian court sentenced one of Vladimir Putin’s harshest critics, Alexei Navani, on suspicion of parole, and he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He said this was politically motivated. The sentencing triggered more protests in Moscow and hundreds of people were arrested. 2:03


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