Voices from Russia

Saturday, 26 May 2018

26 May 2018. What The Bosses Need to Remember…


The bosses won this round… but it ain’t over yet. It was better in the past and we can bring that back if we’re willing to pay the price…



Thursday, 1 May 2014

1 May: It’s International Labour Day! Russia Marked It… the USA Did NOT… One of these Things is NOT Like the Other!

00 may day russia 01. 01.05.14


May Day on Red Square! Unity! Solidarity! The Dignity of Human Labour! The best of the USSR IS coming back… and no amount of American blubbering and posturing can stop it! URA!! (the whole one-hour rally)


Labour Day is on Thursday. This holiday, celebrated in Russia, the USA, some countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia on the first day of May, has several names, such as International Workers’ Solidarity Day, Spring and Labour Day, Labour Day, and Spring Day. In Soviet times, most Russians called this holiday the First of May or May Day, referring to the date on which they celebrated it.

The celebration dates back to events that took place in Chicago in the 19th century. Large-scale rallies and demonstrations of workers demanding an eight-hour workday began in Chicago on 1 May 1886. The rallies ended in clashes with the police. On 3 May, at the McCormick harvester thresher factory, police opened fire on strikers, killing at least two workers. On 4 May, at a protest rally in Haymarket Square, someone threw a bomb at police, who fired back at the crowd. The clash injured 60 police officers and eight died. The exact number of workers who died is unknown. Police arrested hundreds of people and seven anarchist workers received death sentences.

In July 1889, through a suggestion by French delegate Raymond Lavigne, the Paris Congress of the Second International decided to hold an annual 1 May workers’ demonstrations as a sign of solidarity with the Chicago workers. On 1 May 1890, the first May Day rallies occurred in Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, the USA, Norway, France, and Sweden. In the UK, the holiday was on 4 May. Their main theme was a demand for an eight-hour workday. On 1 May 1891, a Social Democratic group led by revolutionary Mikhail Brusnev held the first illegal May Day gathering in St Petersburg. After the 1917 October Revolution, it became an official holiday.

On 1 May 1933, the first flypast happened over Red Square. Then, flypasts were a regular part of the May Day demonstrations to display Soviet military might until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. During the VOV, no major May Day events occurred. In 1970, USSR labour legislation gave the holiday a new name… 1 and 2 May officially became International Workers’ Solidarity Day. On 1 May 1990, the official May Day rally happened for the last time. In 1992, International Workers’ Solidarity Day became renamed Spring and Labour Day.

Mass demonstrations and rallies for social and labour justice, folk festivals, and concerts mark Spring and Labour Day in Russia. In 2013, marches and rallies occurred in more than a thousand Russian cities. Moscow hosted 14 events, the largest of which drew 90,000 people under the flags of trade unions, the National People’s Front, and the United Russia Party. In 2014, a May Day trades-union rally will occur on Red Square in Moscow.


The Moscow GU MVD stated, “Around 80,000 people gathered on Vasilievsky Spusk and nearby streets just half an hour before the beginning of the festive labour union demonstration. Citizens are continually arriving to take part in the event”. The demonstration started at 10.00 MSK (23.00 30 April PDT. 02.00 EDT. 07.00 BST. 16.00 AEST). Moscow will see several dozen rallies on Thursday, including one on Tsvetnoy Bulvar, attended by around 2,500 people. Since the early years of the USSR, 1 May has been a public holiday in Russia. Now known as Spring and Labour Day, trades unions and other groups mark the holiday, with traditional marches to protest labour grievances and other issues.


More than 40,000 residents of Primorsky Krai took part in the 1 May procession in Vladivostok. Last year, sources in the regional administration said that 35,000 people participated in the procession on the city streets. This year, the procession route, the same as in 2013, ran on the bridge across Zolotoi Rog Bay. Just two years after its completion, the bridge is a recognisable symbol of the city. Then, the marchers walked along the city’s most picturesque streets, where city dwellers welcomed them. Primorsky Krai Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky said, “The bridge across Zolotoi Rog Bay is a new symbol of Vladivostok. Today, thousands of people of different professions and age have again marched shoulder to shoulder over it. Only we, together, can make our region even better and more beautiful. Only we, on us, can ensure the future of Primorsky Krai”.

The Zolotoi Rog bridge, built for the APEC summit in 2012, links the city’s centre with the district where the first-ever May Day meeting in the Primorsky Krai capital was held in 1901. The May Day procession ended in the central square where artists from all over the region will perform until late at night. The May Day craftsmen’s foundry includes mater classes on painting wooden handcrafted items, making clay figurines, and a press wall for taking pictures against the background of the Olympic and Paralympic flames was at the sports exhibition ground of the Fetisov Arena.


The Moscow City GU MVD reported that more than 100,000 people took part in the May Day trades-union demonstration of in the centre of Moscow, “The festive procession of trades-union activists from Vasilyevsky Spusk down Tverskaya Street has begun in the Russian capital”. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Mikhail Shnakov, head of the Federation of Independent Trades-Unions of Russia (FNPR), and Sergei Chernov, head of the Moscow Trade Union Federation, led the procession. Young people and students were the majority of participants, but older folks were also present. The column marched from the place of execution in Red square to the State History Museum carrying slogans, “Unity! Solidarity! Rights of Working People!”, “Decent Work – Fair Pay!” Chairman of the “unions” party Labour Union, FNPR Secretary Aleksandr Shershukov said, “In addition to socio-economic slogans, we also regard this year’s May Day demonstration as an antifascist event”. Marchers from the A Just Russia party will also call for “decent wages for decent work”. This column will march from Trubnaya Square along the Boulevard Ring Street to Pushkin Square, where a public meeting will take place.


On Thursday, Sergei Aksyonov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of the Crimea told reporters in Simferopol about this year’s 1 May rally in Simferopol, “It’s the first time that we had such a large-scale rally. According to preliminary estimates, more than 100,000 took part in it. We’re convinced that this patriotic upsurge in the Crimea will spread across the entire Russian Federation”. The May Day rally continued for about two hours, with people carrying flowers, flags, and banners moving along Simferopol’s central street, Kirov Avenue. Members of the Crimean government, employees of Simferopol enterprises, teachers, hospital staff, as well as activists from United Russia, A Just Russia, and the KPRF attended the event. Many people brought their children along.


Several thousand people gathered for a May Day demonstration in the centre of Kiev. A march staged by the Justice Bloc of Left Forces started from the Arsenalnaya metro station down Grushevskaya Street to the Rada building and Europe Square, where they held a public meeting. The march’s promoters told ITAR-TASS, “Ukrainian presidential candidates didn’t take part”. The rally will present demands consisting of seven political and seven economic points to junta chieftain Aleksandr Turchinov and so-called “Prime Minister” Arseny Yatsenyuk. The demands participants include immediate constitutional reform, early elections to the Rada and local soviets, as well as an all-Ukraine referendum on determining the Russian language’s status and on the Ukraine’s development vector.


00 Moldova. May Day. 01.05.14


Moldovans celebrated May Day with rallies in support of joining the Customs Union of the Eurasian Economic Community (TS EvrAsES). Opposition communist and socialist blocs took thousands of people to streets in Chișinău, the capital of the country. Former Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon said, “We’re for integration with Russia; we see our future in the Customs Union, because the agreements imposed upon Chișinău by Brussels are disadvantageous. This question arises now because Moldova is at a crossroads, and its choice that will be critical for its future. We can’t sit in two chairs at once. Look at what’s happening in the neighbouring Ukraine. If the authorities keep dividing the country into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and limit the use of the Russian language, we’ll face the same plight. All left-wing parties should unite under these ideals”. The leaders of Moldova’s Party of Communists, the largest single party, with more than one-third of seats in the national parliament, also spoke of the risk of divisions in society. Party leader and former President Vladimir Voronin said, “The country’s modernisation in the European way is a normal process, but we need to look at where our main markets are and where our people work… all this must be taken into account before we sign an association agreement with the EU and a free trade agreement”.

Moldova initialled association and free trade area agreements with the EU; it hopes to sign them in August. Parliamentary elections are due at the end of this year and observers noted the dwindling ratings of parties that want to break ties with the east. A public opinion poll, published last week, indicates that over 60 percent of respondents in Moldova link their future with Russia, whilst only 39 percent support EU integration. This marks a significant change in people’s attitude towards the TS EvrAsES and the EU.  A poll conducted a year ago showed that 52.1 percent would vote to join the Customs Union and 23 percent would vote against it. EU integration only garnered the support of 50.3 percent, and 30 percent would oppose it. The latest polls indicate that the number of people who support Moldova’s accession to the Common Economic Space of the TS EvrAsES is growing, as is the number of those increasingly sceptical about admission to the EU. According to a public opinion poll conducted by Moldova’s Public Policy Institute in late 2012, 57 percent supported Moldova joining the Common Economic Space, 20 percent opposed it, and the rest had no opinion on it. At the same time, 53 percent spoke in favour of EU integration and 30 percent spoke against it.

On 2 February 2014, the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri), an autonomy within Moldova, held a referendum; the overwhelming majority of voters showed that they preferred to join the TS EvrAsES and not opt for EU integration. The referendum recorded a record-high turnout; more than 70.4 percent of those eligible went to the polls. According to the results, CEC Chairman Valentina Lisnik said that 98.4 percent supported integration into the Customs Union, only 1.5 percent voted against it; 2.5 percent supported joining the EU and 97.4 percent were against it. She said that 98.8% of people supported the idea of “deferred status of autonomy”, which gives Gagauzia the right to self-determination if Moldova loses independence. The Moldovan authorities consider the referendum in Gagauzia unlawful, saying, “The country’s foreign policy isn’t decided by local authorities”. However, Gagauz leader Mikhail Formuzal hoped that its results would influence Chișinău’s dialogue with regions. He told ITAR-TASS, “The EU, which the Moldovan leadership seeks to join, has the practise of holding referendums even on less important issues. Our authorities didn’t ask the people’s opinion about independence, foreign policy, language, Transdniestrian settlement, or any other vital issue. The plebiscite in Gagauzia showed that there’s a large gap between the declarations made by the leadership of the republic and real life on the ground. Now, I hope that they’d respect the people’s opinion, which would allow us to start building a truly democratic state”.

1 May 2014

Voice of Russia World Service









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Monday, 3 September 2012

3 September 2012. It’s Labour Day! Not Managers’ Day… Not Bosses’ Day… Not Investors’ Day… Labour Day







Who’s got the least of the pie this Labour Day Weekend… why, it’s the people who labour for their pay-cheques, that’s who. We’re told that we don’t deserve anything… that the “hard-working” affluent effluent are the ones who should rightfully profit from our labour. Yes… we’re at a nadir point… like the 1890s. Just remember, things started to look up after that… as they will again. After all, they can’t hide in their gated communities forever, can they?

Reflect on this… all too many of the oppressors call themselves Christians and think that God smiles on their cupidity and greed… woe to those who call good evil and evil good… what did Our Lord say of them? They have their reward. Beware all those who come bearing Manhattan Declarations and other such “feel-good” rubbish… if it makes you feel “good inside”, it’s probably NOT…


Sunday, 26 August 2012

26 August 2012. A Meditation on the Coming Labour Day…

Together we Win

Unknown Artist

circa 1942-43


This poster dates from the most socialist government we ever had in the USA… the New Deal of FDR. In other words, the greatest victory ever won by the USA was won by its most socialist administration. Am I being catty in saying that none of the Grand Olde Phony administrations did as well? America was strong as long as it had a somewhat more equal distribution of income. That’s why the USA is cruising for a bruising… the present imbalance is evil, and it will destroy itself, if it’s not stopped or reformed. Think on that…


Here’s something to ponder, with Labour Day coming on…

On this Labour Day, American workers again are facing hard times… persistent high unemployment and a concentration of wealth and economic power not seen since the 19th century. This growing inequality, not surprisingly, has coincided with organized labour’s decline. Today, the country’s union membership rate is below 12 percent, the lowest in more than 70 years. However, that trend isn’t driven by the hostility of workers toward unions… in poll after poll, a majority of non-union workers say they would like to join a union if they could… but rather by the hostility of some employers and state and local governments.

Since the 2010 midterm elections, legislatures in dozens of states including Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin have moved to eviscerate collective bargaining rights, pass so-called “right-to-work” laws, or make it more difficult for unions to collect dues. Anti-labour politicians, pundits, conservative foundations, and other ideologues cynically use the economic downturn to scapegoat workers and their unions. These attacks serve to reinforce the increasing concentration of wealth, diminish the flow of purchasing power needed to revive the economy, and deny workers a voice in their workplaces. Anti-labour forces in Michigan are even attempting to deny voters the opportunity to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in their state constitution.

As the unions that represent working men and women are systematically crippled, the corporate money that has flowed untrammelled into American politics since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision gives the wealthy more influence than ever over public policy and legislation. This isn’t the country that most of us want, nor does it comport with the justice that our Jewish traditions teach us to pursue. That is why an overwhelming majority of delegates to this year’s annual plenum of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs passed a resolution strongly supporting collective bargaining rights in the public and private sectors. As the resolution reminds us, “religious commandments in the Torah and Talmud relating to the employment of workers are imbued with respect for labour rights”.

Ki Teitzei, the Torah portion read in congregations around the world on the Shabbat before Labour Day this year, commands employers to be fair and honest in their dealings with employees (Deuteronomy 24.14-15), and it obligates Jews to practice mutual aid (Deuteronomy 22.1-4). The massive protests in defence of workers’ rights in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere in the past two years prove that we’re stronger together than any one of us on his or her own. On this Labour Day, let’s rededicate ourselves to rebuilding the broad solidarity that has always been the foundation for a fair, decent, and strong society.

Stuart Applebaum

26 August 2012



This is written from a Jewish standpoint, but the teachings of most major world religions (and of secular humanism, too) on social justice conform with this. A living embodiment of this was John Cardinal O’Connor of New York. He was fiercely pro-life in all aspects… protection of the unborn, universal access to all to the healthcare system, state aid to the elderly and poorly-off, opposition to promiscuous capital punishment, being against warmongering and excessive “defence” expenditures, and (last, but hardly least) supporting economic justice for working people. That’s why the loudmouthed rightwing “Pro-Lifers” fail the test. The only thing that they care about is the illegalisation of abortion. Since that’s so… they’re NOT Pro-Life!

If you want to be Pro-Life… be pro-union… be against the perpetual wars and the constant feeding of the war machine… be against the death penalty for crimes against individuals… be for a secure social safety net… be for universal single-payer healthcare… not just ranting for the end of abortion. By this standard, the loudmouth RC bishops (and the Orthodox clergy who piped up in their support) who blustered about “birth control” aren’t Pro-Life, and that’s that (the real reason for their upset is that over 90 percent of all Catholic women use artificial birth control). However, under these standards, HH IS Pro-Life, and we should follow his lead, not that of Rod Dreher, Freddie M-G, Terrence Mattingly, Patrick Reardon, et al.

Either you are for a fair social system or you aren’t. It’s quite that simple. Orthodox people… here’s the sad part… rightwingers have tried to hijack our Church. It’s our duty to stand up and say, “NO!” Remember, Christ was incarnate in the family of a carpenter, not that of a priest, lawyer, or professor… reflect on that, if you will.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 26 August 2012

Albany NY

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