Natalia Koulinka

nkoulink@ucsc.edu
Articles by Natalia Koulinka

Soviet Miners’ Strikes, Thirty Years Later: What Miners Demanded in 1989 and 1991, Part II

By describing the benefits the mine accrued thanks to its specialists and white-collar employees, the “Izvestiia” article points to the intellectual nature of work performed by those striking miners called “bureaucrats.” This modification to the term’s meaning suggests, I argue, that at the core of the 1989 strikes was a tension between intellectual and manual labor that transformed the strikes into proto-class struggle. 

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Soviet Miners’ Strikes, Thirty Years Later: What Miners Demanded in 1989 and 1991, Part I

In 2009 the former chair of the Donetsk Strike Committee recalled in an interview to the newspaper “Segodnia,” “We never pursued the goal of Soviet collapse. We were against the people in power, rather than the country.” Although this change in miners’ attitude could be interpreted as nostalgia, it seems equally likely that their bitter feelings are caused by the unresolved question of why their struggle for freedom and democracy ended in massive socio-economic inequality. I attempted to answer this question based on an analysis of miners’ demands, as well as the discursive context of the late Soviet 1980s and early 1990s.

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