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Title: 'Complaining in corners' : Russian mineworkers and the transition from communism
Author: Ashwin, Cicely Sarah Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 7099
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines the nature and limits of workers' organisation during the Russian transition from communism, on the basis of a detailed case study of a South Kuzbass coal mine, 'Taldym', conducted between 1994 and 1996. Miners have been the most militant group of Russian workers since the perestroika era, while the workers and trade union at Taldym are among the most active in their industry. The thesis considers the issue of workers' organisation in the transition period from two perspectives. First, it asks why it has proved so difficult for the former communist trade unions, which organised the overwhelming majority of Soviet workers in the past, to transform themselves into independent organisations capable of representing workers' interests during the transition period. This, it is argued, is not primarily a problem of political will within the union bureaucracies, but is a structural problem at the enterprise level, the nature of which is explored in a detailed analysis of the dilemmas and constraints confronting the mine trade union committee. Second, the thesis examines why, given the limited extent of reform within the union, workers have not organised within or outside existing structures to defend their interests in the face of the catastrophic drop in their living standards. The analysis focuses on the way in which the structure of the traditional Soviet enterprise and the characteristic forms of informal relations which developed within it inhibited any form of independent collective organisation. This argument not only explains the apparent quiescence of Russian workers in the reform period, it also provides a more sophisticated understanding of the way in which Soviet workers were integrated under communism than that provided by established theories. The concluding section of the thesis considers the nature of workers' influence on the post-communist recomposition of the Russian state and economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor