Odessa Protests Against the Economic Blockade of Donbass and Kolomoisky Takeover of Odessa Portside Plant


December 14, 2014

Politnavigator, Mikhail Ryabov

On Sunday, December 14, 2014 about 600 employees of the Odessa Portside Plant (OPZ) and members of their families came out to rally against the takeover of the company by Privat Group of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, as well as demanding an end to the economic blockade of Donbass.

The protesters stated that the blockade of Donbass led to the rupture of economic ties between OPZ and partner-businesses, mass layoffs in Odessa, nonpayment of wages, and, as a consequence, a threat of takeover of Odessa Portside by Kolomoisky at a bargain price.

Odessa Portside Plant is the largest enterprise in the former USSR for preparing ammonia and its derivatives for transport by sea for export. Here comes the pipeline from the Russian city of Tolyatti. Until recently, OPZ was considered one of the most cost-effective chemical plants in Ukraine, and therefore repeatedly was a target for take-over attacks.

The participants of the protest unfolded posters “No blockade! Let’s work with Donbass!”, “Let the

plant work! Save jobs”, “Kolomoisky – hands off OPZ!”, “Closing OPZ – is a social catastrophe and unemployment”, etc.

“We are outraged by the catastrophic situation at our plant. OPZ operates only at 30% capacity. Hundreds of people lost their jobs. They can’t feed themselves and their families. We demand to restore Donbass orders for our company. To cancel the decree on economic blockade of Donbass. Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko], do not give up on your people! We demand to stop the preparation of the criminal privatization of our company by Privat Group”, – said Maxim Nechaev, specialist of OPZ Control Department.

“This is the last call for Kiev. Odessa, if need be, will rise. We can defend ourselves. I guarantee you this,” – warned senior technologist of ammonia overload shop of OPZ, Nikolai Belyaev.

The Odessa Portside has been heavily hit by the recent decision of the government of Arseny Yatsenyuk on banning the use of gas by industry due to rationing.

The OPZ employs 3,829 people. It is a city-founding enterprise of Odessa’s satellite city Yuzhnoye. This city was created in the early 1970’s along with Yuzhny [South] Port and Odessa Portside Plant. The population of Yuzhnoye is 29 thousand people. From the city centre to the outskirts of Odessa – 30 kilometers.

Today 99.56% of Odessa Portside Plant belongs to the state. The profit of the plant in 2011 amounted to 5, 589 billion UAH. This is approximately $500 million.

Translated by Kristina Rus for FortRuss.blogspot.com

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