Armenian Workers Demand Wages from Russian Base

Armenian employees of a Russian military base in Gyumri demonstrate against wage arrears on May 3, 2017 (Photo: RFE/RL)
Armenian employees of a Russian military base in Gyumri demonstrate against wage arrears on May 3, 2017 (Photo: RFE/RL)

Armenian employees of a Russian military base in Gyumri demonstrate against wage arrears on May 3, 2017 (Photo: RFE/RL)

GYUMRI, Armenia (RFE/RL)—Around a hundred Armenian civilians working for a Russian military base in Gyumri went on strike on Wednesday to demand their wages which they said have not been paid for the last three months.

The workers involved in housing maintenance and utility services marched to the local headquarters of the base, protesting against the wage arrears.

“We haven’t been paid for February and March,” one of the workers said. “The April wages are supposed to be paid by May 15 but nobody will tell us if this will happen.”

The recently appointed commander of the base, Vladimir Yelkanov, claimed to be unaware of the wage arrears when he met with the protesters at the entrance to his headquarters. He said he will meet later in the day with senior executives of a Russian company maintaining the housing infrastructure of Russian military personnel stationed in Armenia.

Some protesters cited rumors that the company went bankrupt recently.

The Russian base is thought to number up to 4,000 soldiers mostly deployed in Gyumri. A Russian-Armenian agreement signed in 2010 extended the Russian military presence in the country by 25 years, until 2044.

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