June 4, 2009

Takeovers could provoke unrest in Russia

A bill to nationalize three companies in Russia could trigger a rash of social unrest, a social analyst said.

Andrei Isayev, chairman of the Duma's Labor and Social Policy Committee, proposed nationalizing BaselCement, Evrocement Group and SevZazProm, companies that folded in January in Pikalyovo, Russia, at the cost of 3,800 jobs.

Workers protested Tuesday, tying up traffic and shouting, Work! Work! The Moscow Times reported.

On Wednesday, Isayev submitted a bill to the State Duma that analysts said could provoke more unrest if it is perceived as the government is willing to throw money at the problem, the Times said.

Laid-off workers in dozens of towns will now block roads and demand that (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin come over to solve their problems, said Yevgeny Gontmakher, director of the Center for Social Policy at the Institute of Economics.

Political analyst Alexei Mukhin, at the Center for Political Information, said the bill will be torpedoed.

Then (President Dmitry) Medvedev will have to demand that the so-called socially responsible businessmen sell their yachts and to pay wages in order to escape a social catastrophe, he said.