Lawfulness of Arkhangelsk Transport Police Actions Is Requested to Be Verified


Arkhangelsk Transit Police (TP) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia supported by armed men carried out inspection of premises, in fact a search, of the Northern Regional Organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR). These actions are considered in the Union to be illegal, however, by no means only there. President of the Confederation of Labor of Russia (KTR) Boris Kravchenko and State Duma Deputy Oleg Shein have already sent an appeal to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika with a request to check the lawfulness of the police actions and take appropriate measures in case of violations. The same request was sent by Boris Kravchenko to the Head of Directorate General for Transport of the Russian Interior Ministry, Dmitry Sharobarov.

The search in the SUR Northern RO was carried out on 24 August, but the police has not provided any information on the ground of inspection notwithstanding Article 7 of the Federal Law “On Operational Investigations”. It only referred to certain materials filed with the register of records of crimes and incidents of the Arkhangelsk TP on 17 August. In the course of search, personal belongings of employees were inspected, tables and cabinets were opened. As a result, the transport police officers withdrew almost all documents, including accounting records pertaining to the activities of the SUR Northern RO, as well as the SUR PO of OJSC SMP, which does not appear in the order for inspection. In doing so, the police failed to draw up relevant protocol that was in violation of Part 1 of Article 15 of the law “On Operational Investigations”.

– Besides, the trade union is a public, not transport, organization, which also calls into question the inspection of the transport police, – says Oleg Shein.

The search of the premises was not the only issue. A few days later, the SUR Northern RO was requested by the Arkhangelsk TP to submit additional information, including a list of its members.

– The police are trying to find evidence of possible violations, but I do not even understand what they indeed wish to find. There is such a feeling that they are just looking for any excuse to find fault with us, – Chairman of the SUR Northern RO Alexander Krasnoshtan said on the phone. – In previous years, there were already attempts to “study” the activities of the union in such a way. And here we have got it again. Now they began to call and conduct interviews with employees, which affects our work.

The police actually paralyzed the work of one of the key branches of the Union, depriving it of full protection of rights of its members – the Russian seafarers. The terms of negotiations with social partners on indexation of wages, as well as with foreign shipowners on the re-signing of collective agreements are being broken.

– Article 5 of the Federal Law “On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees of Operation” expressly prohibits state authorities, local governments and their officials from interfering in the activities of trade unions which may entail restriction of their rights or prevention of the lawful implementation of their statutory activities, – said Boris Kravchenko. – In addition, this prohibition is an international obligation of Russia as required under Article 3, Paragraph 2, of ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize.

So far, the Union has not received any plausible official explanation from law enforcement authorities as to what could have caused such actions.