Socialist Worker

Profits behind Russian mine disaster

Issue No. 2201

At least 32 miners are dead after an explosion at the Raspadskaya mine in Russia. A further 58 are missing.

The Evraz Group owns Raspadskaya. Evraz is part‑owned by billionaire oligarch and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich came second in the Sunday Times Rich List this year. He is worth £7.4 billion—a rise of 6 percent in one year.

Yet the miners who produce the Evraz Group’s vast wealth face unsafe conditions.

Safety staff at Raspadskaya say the methane safety warning system failed to alert workers to the high levels of gas that caused the latest explosion.

It isn’t the first time that workers’ safety has been jeopardised.

A court suspended work at Raspadskaya for 15 days in 2008 after safety inspections found “severe violations of industrial safety”.

In December 2009, six workers died in an explosion.

Russia’s industrial safety watchdog said the primary cause was a faulty safety system to monitor methane levels.

In January this year, a methane blast killed one miner.

The Russian government, which still part-owns the mine, moved quickly to try and pay off workers’ families—giving them £25,000 each.

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Tue 11 May 2010, 17:13 BST
Issue No. 2201
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