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Striking Urals Miners Demand Video Call with Putin

The miners' strike at the Mariinsky Priisk mine.

Miners in Russia’s Ural Mountains region have demanded to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin as their strike against their mine’s closure and mass layoffs entered a second day, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europa reported Friday.

The strike at the Mariinsky emerald mine, located on Europe's largest emerald deposit, started Thursday, when 80 to 150 miners refused to leave the mine and come to the surface. As of Friday afternoon, about 70 miners remained underground.

One of the miners told the Yekaterinburg-based It’s My City news outlet that their managers promised to tell them whether the video call with Putin would take place by 5:00 p.m. Moscow time.

A representative from the Sverdlovsk regional administration later told It’s My City they were unaware of the miners’ proposed video conference.

The Mariinsky mine belongs to the Rostec state defense conglomerate, which is headed by Sergei Chemezov, a close associate of Putin’s. The United States placed sanctions on Rostec in 2022.

While the existing Mariinsky mine will still be mothballed, all employees have been promised jobs at another ore deposit, an official in the Sverdlovsk regional administration said Thursday after the strike began.

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