Wednesday evening, in a decision unprecedented in the history of modern Russia, the City Court of St. Petersburg ruled to forcibly disband the Inter-Regional Trade Union “Workers’ Association” (MPRA), the auto workers’ union that was part of the Confederation of Labor of Russia (KTR).
The court justified the decision by arguing that the union was involved in political activities, was collecting signatures to change the existing labor laws in Russia and was being funded from abroad. In the opinion of the court, this was not a local union at all, but rather a “foreign agent” of the IndustriALL Global Union, which counts 140 industrial unions around the world as affiliates, with 50 million members. Italy’s FIOM, FIM and UILM belong to it, as well as Germany’s powerful IG Metall.
The leader of the KTR, Boris Kravchenko, immediately announced that the union will appeal this decision at every level: “In Russia, the fundamental rights of workers will not be curtailed,” he said.