FNPR Newsletter. October 17, 2022
October 17, 2022
A number of important events have occurred since the previous newsletter.
Speaking of economic indicators, they have not undergone any noticeable changes since September. At the same time, the significance of recent political events is extremely high: we believe they are capable of noticeably changing the economic and geopolitical situation not only in Russian-Ukrainian relations, but also far beyond their borders.
By far the most important event was holding of simultaneous plebiscites in the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, as well as in Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Ukraine. The main question on the ballot was whether or not the residents of these regions agree with joining the Russian Federation.
In order to ensure safety of the population, the plebiscites were held for 5 days between September 23-27 and ended with the following results:
The voting took place without any incidents or coercion so much talked of in the West, in full compliance with the international norms. The process was monitored by 133 international observers from 28 countries, including Brazil, India, South Africa, Germany, and the United Kingdom. No violations were detected. All procedures stipulated by the Russian legislation were followed, and on October 4, 2022, all four territories legitimately became part of the Russian Federation. For the time until the next elections, the heads of executive power in these federal subjects have been appointed by the decisions of the President.
Amendments have been made to the Constitution of Russia concerning new regions, and from that moment the legal formalisation of the new territories within the Russian Federation has been completed. Currently, the process of their integration into the Russian political, economic and social space is underway. All residents of those regions have the opportunity to obtain Russian citizenship if they make such decision for themselves.
The second important event was the announcement of partial mobilisation of Russian citizens who have served in the army and were trained in the military specialties that are in demand during the Special military operation. 300 thousand people are subject to mobilisation (according to official data, the total number of the Russian armed forces is over 1,150,000 servicemen, about 12% of them are taking part in the Special military operation, the mobilisation resource in Russia is estimated at 31 million people). By now, mobilisation has been carried out in most regions of Russia; in Moscow, it was officially completed on October 17. Those called up for service are in training units where they undergo preliminary training and adaptation, taking into account the experience of operations in Ukraine.
Many categories are not subject to mobilisation: students and graduate students, employees of the IT industry and financial sector, defence industry workers, fathers with many children and others. The need for mobilisation is primarily caused by the fact that the number of Russian troops participating in the Special military operation is insufficient to ensure military security in the new subjects of the Russian Federation, as well as the intention to accelerate the implementation of the initial tasks — the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.
These two major events change the course of the operation. To a certain extent, the nature of our country's actions in this conflict is also changing after the appalling acts of terrorism during the summer and autumn months against energy and civil infrastructure facilities — nuclear power plants in Zaporozhye and Kursk regions, the explosion of underwater gas pipelines and the Crimean Bridge. The investigative bodies of Russia have established direct or indirect involvement of the Ukrainian authorities in the implementation of those terrorist attacks. Such actions of the nationalist Kiev regime leave no choice but to take decisive and tough retaliatory measures.
As noted above, the economic and social situation in Russia remains stable. Enterprises work rhythmically, defence sector enterprises operate in three shifts. The number of bankruptcies, layoffs and shutdowns of enterprises does not exceed the average levels of recent years. The number of labour conflicts is not growing. Registered unemployment in September was 3.8%, which is a historic low. There are no interruptions in the supply of food, fuel and electricity, prices remain at the summer level, and inflation in September was 0.05%. The winter heating season has begun in most of the regions of the Russian Federation.
Against this background of the deepening energy crisis, politicians and officials of the European Union and the United Kingdom are doing their best to complicate the foreign economic activities of Russian enterprises and suppliers.
Let me highlight an important and very illustrative aspect of current events. A few months ago, the Russian authorities agreed to a deal allowing Ukraine to trade grain through its Black Sea ports. In exchange, we wanted to have the same free trade in our grain and fertilizers to help prevent a global food crisis. However, the deal turned out to be a hypocritical deception.
The bulk of grain exported from Ukraine ends up in the countries of "collective West". At the same time, supplies do not reach the developing countries of Latin America and Africa, where the crisis is felt most acutely. Of the first 87 grain carriers that left Ukrainian ports, 32 remained in Turkey, three were sent to South Africa, three to Israel, seven to Egypt, 30 to the European Union, while only two went to the poorest countries under the UN food programmes —Yemen and Djibouti: that was 60 thousand tons, or mere three percent. As of today, the situation still remains unresolved.
In addition to that, about 300 thousand tons of Russian fertilizers have been detained in European ports due to the blocking of bank settlements, the prohibition of Russian cargo insurance and the denial of service to Russian vessels. President Putin informed the UN Secretary General that our country is ready to deliver all this volume to developing countries for free. The European Union explained that only EU countries can buy fertilizers from Russia and Belarus, and that its delivery through the European ports to developing countries and the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America is still prohibited. To date, the problem with unblocking Russian cargo has also not been solved.
Opinion polls continue to show a positive attitude of Russian citizens towards the Government and President Putin. At the beginning of October, Russia's largest sociological organisation, the Public Opinion Foundation, published a survey according to which 53% of respondents support the Government, 80% approve of the President's performance and 78% trust him. Thus, despite the protracted military actions, external pressure on the Russian economy, unpopular mobilisation, the level of trust and support for the actions of key political institutions in Russia continues to be extremely high.
Returning to the situation in the Russian trade union movement, we can draw a confident conclusion about further strengthening of social dialogue and social partnership at all levels, primarily within the framework of the Russian Trilateral Commission for the regulation of social and labour relations. The recent meeting of the FNPR General Council confirmed the course for further development of an equal social dialogue with the government and employer organisations in the interests of trade unions.
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