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M O N D A Y
It doesn’t take a doctorate in Soviet studies to divine the “Causes and Consequences of Wage Non-Payment in the Former Soviet Union.” Cause: The former Soviet republics are dirt poor, and the only people with cash are the mafiosos who rob you blindand bloody your face for good measureafter you declare your greenbacks at customs checkpoints. Consequence: The serfs are starving and ready to take to the streets. According to Daniel Rosenblum of the Free Trade Union Institute, employers in Russia are stiffing their workers so often that the State Committee for Statistics now keeps two sets of data: one for wages actually paid, and one for wages owed. The problem has plunged the former Soviet republics further into their Stone Age barter economy, in which scruffy Slavs madly exchange low-quality items that they don’t need or use in the faint hope of eventually feeding and clothing their families. A Kazaki tire factory, for example, recently attempted to compensate its workers for months of unpaid wages by giving them two tires apiece. The employees were photographed rolling their rubber wages home, where they no doubt prepared to exchange them with their neighbors for, say, a carburetor and an exhaust manifold, with a scrawny chicken thrown in for sweetener. At noon at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW. FREE. (202) 287-3400. (Erik Wemple)