Staunton, December 23 – How bad are things in Russia’s defense sector? So bad that former workers at a Vladivostok defense plant have given up hope that any Russian official, including Vladimir Putin, will listen to their plight and force the firm’s managers to pay them the millions of rubles in back wages they are owed.
Instead, a group of 20 former employees of the Radiopribor plant there have signed a collective appeal to what a local media outlet describes as “the all-powerful hero of Russian folk tales, Father Frost, and asked that he bring them at New Year’s all the back wages they are owed” (primamedia.ru/news/772415/).
The workers say they have not been paid for four years and that the government-funded defense firm owes them something on the order of 340 million rubles (five million US dollars), an enormous sum especially in the depressed economy of the Russian Far East. They say that their letter to Father Frost is their “last cry of despair.”
The former workers of the plant, which has gone into bankruptcy to avoid having to pay its debts, have been promised their money by a variety of local and regional officials. Moscow officials have not bothered to respond. And so far they have not gotten any of the money they are owed.
At least, Father Frost will not give them less than the Russian government has.