Moscow Metro fires dozens of employees who registered for Navalny solidarity protest

The Moscow Metro has laid off around 40 employees in connection with last month’s demonstrations in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny, reports Open Media, citing Vasily Shelyakov, the deputy chairman of the independent trade union GUP Moskovsky Metropoliten.

“There are many of them, but we still don’t know about all of them, only about 40 people have contacted me,” Shelyakov said, adding that even people on sick leave are being dismissed.

According to Shelyakov, subway workers are being presented with the option of resigning by mutual agreement or being dismissed for alleged absenteeism. In informal conversations, managers told employees they were being fired because they registered their intent to attend the “Freedom for Navalny” rally or because they took part in the demonstrations on April 21.

On Telegram, Moscow City Duma Deputy Mikhail Timonov wrote that he had been informed that the subway system’s management ordered the dismissal of up to several hundred employees by May 14 — specifically, those whose names or relatives’ names were included in the pro-Navalny protest registration database. Timonov added that he planned to verify this information.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK) also reported receiving information about mass layoffs by the Moscow Metro from several sources “all at once.” The FBK also promised to provide the dismissed workers with legal aid. “We will advise you, help you prepare a claim against your employer, and to get compensation or your job back. And if the court doesn’t take the side of the law, we will help you appeal to the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights],” says a statement on Navalny’s website. 

The Moscow Metro has yet to comment on the layoffs.

Update. One of the dismissed Moscow Metro employees provided Meduza with an audio recording of a conversation with management, during which he was told to sign a letter of resignation. The worker, who wished to remain anonymous, asked Meduza to publish a transcript of the recording. You can read it in Russian here.

Alexey Navalny’s associates launched the “Freedom for Navalny!” website back in March, inviting his supporters to RSVP to their next round of countrywide demonstrations in support of the jailed opposition politician. In mid-April, reports emerged that people who had registered with the website were receiving emails containing their personal information, as well as threats that their employers would be informed of their political views. 

Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, claimed that an FBK employee who had been recruited by the Russian FSB stole the registration database. Meduza later traced the leak back to people associated with the presidential administration and the president’s directorate.

According to Dozhd, openly available versions of the leaked database include more than 150 people whose place of work is listed as the Moscow Metro. 

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