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    YURI LUZHKOV DISLIKES PENSION REFORM

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    MOSCOW, May 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow municipal government will oppose the national pension reform, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told a rally involving Moscow and Moscow-region labor unions today.

    Luzhkov promised that he will prevent the purchase of bankrupt industrial and other enterprises, as well as the shutdown of Young Pioneer camps around Moscow. Luzhkov called on the labor unions to oppose the privatization of such camps, which now belong to local enterprises. (The aforesaid enterprise purchases would also entitle their new owners to huge land plots all over Moscow - Ed.) Mikhail Shmakov, chairman of the Federation of Independent Russian Labor Unions, virtually solidarized with Luzhkov on the pension-reform issue.

    We oppose changes in national legislation, as well as the abolition of our achievements of the last decade, Shmakov informed those present.

    Russian labor unions will support those specific parties, which fulfil workers' demands, Shmakov stressed.

    High wages are the best remedy for unemployment, the chairman of the Federation of Independent Russian Labor Unions believes.

    The 100th anniversary of the Russian labor-union movement will be celebrated in 2005, Shmakov told his audience.

    Tsars and leaders have left the stage of history, but labor unions still remain, Shmakov said in conclusion.

    Such populist statements on the part of Luzhkov and Shmakov can be explained by their striving to act as champions of ordinary working people's rights. Still one gets the impression that spontaneous rallies are not the best occasion for informing the powers that be, all the more so as Luzhkov is among them.

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