Postal Workers Forced to Attend Pro-Putin Rally

Pro-Putin rally. Source: Gazeta.ruWorkers at Pochta Rossii, Russia’s federal postal service, are complaining of being forced to take part in a pro-government rally in Moscow this weekend, reports.

On Wednesday, Novaya Gazeta published a statement by a postal worker that included a letter sent to local Pochta Rossii managers. The letter, signed by a representative of the company’s personel service, demanded a list from each branch of employees who would be taking part in the February 4 protest at Moscow’s Victory Park.

The letter then states: “We would like to bring to your attention the fact that worker participation is mandatory!”

In addition, another Pochta Rossii worker said on a live broadcast of Russian News Service radio that management had promised to pay each worker 6 thousand rubles (~200 USD) for going to the rally.

“A mechanic was running around with an anxious look on his face: ‘Guys, who wants to go to the rally on February 4? You only have to be there for two hours. They’ll take us in a bus, you’ll get double pay, as if for an entire day,'” the worker said.

Organizers of the rally, consisting of supporters of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, intentionally set the date to conflict with an opposition rally taking place elsewhere in the city that day – what will be Russia’s third mass anti-government rally since highly-criticized elections last December.

According to LiveJournal blogger stilett-1, employees of the Moscow Bureau of Technical Cataloging are also being coerced into attending the pro-Putin rally. Employees will have to “sign in on a special list” at the rally; those not present are threatened with “unpleasantries” at work.

Public workers in Russia have long complained of pressure to vote for ruling party candidates or turn out for pro-government protests.

In particular, the Russian Public Chamber has opened a hotline for teachers being forced to attend the February 4 rally.

“It’s important for us to know what’s actually going on. I am a practicing teacher and can say that in my school none of the teachers received any order. But what’s being written in the media and discussed on social networking sites needs to be checked out,” said project coordinator Sergei Volkov.