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Russian Workers Rap Against Sanctions, Protest at U.S. Envoy’s Residence

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Factory workers from U.S. sanctions-hit van maker GAZ performed an anti-sanctions rap song and staged a picket outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during its July Fourth celebration.

Workers from GAZ’s Yaroslavl factory had this week filmed a music video for the anti-sanctions song, which uses the beat from rapper Coolio’s 1990s hit “Gangsta’s Paradise.” In the song, the workers plead: “Is there anyone who will hear us? Save GAZ! Come to the rescue of the working class. Save GAZ!”

On July Fourth, 50 people rallied on behalf of GAZ Group’s 40,000-strong workforce in front of Spaso House, the U.S. ambassador's residence in Moscow.

“On this day, we call on you not to deprive us, Russian workers, of the right to independence, right to work and to grow professionally and the right to a future,” they wrote in a petition to Ambassador Jon Huntsman.

“If the sanctions come in full force, we will lose our foreign suppliers. This will bring production lines to a stop leaving us jobless,” they said. 

Tycoon Oleg Deripaska and his van maker GAZ were slapped with sanctions over his alleged connection to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other “malign activities.”

Earlier this year, GAZ asked the government for a 30 billion ruble ($468 million) bailout because it claimed the sanctions could slash production by almost 40 percent in the second half of 2019.

The U.S. Treasury has given investors until Nov. 8 to divest from GAZ, meaning Deripaska could lower his stake and allow the company to be removed from the sanctions list.

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