The protests throughout the country by former Chornobyl clean-up workers received wide coverage, as did the increasingly inept measures to stop them. The men were, after all, only defending their rights under the law to full pension payments, and asking for enforcement of court orders confirming these rights.
The protests over the Pension Fund’s reduction in their pensions were most galling in Donetsk, the ruling party’s homeland. First the court banned the Chornobyl clean-up workers’ protests. This was in response to an application from the city authorities who cited a police report claiming that “according to information received on the Internet the next explosion will be in Donetsk” and therefore asking for a ban on protests “pending an improvement in the operational situation in the city”. The protesters refused to go away, so on Sunday evening, Nov. 27 police and Emergencies Ministry men stormed the protesters’ tents, this resulting in the death of retired miner Gennady Konoplyov.
There are limits to how tarnished a reputation can be, especially with Dec. 14, the day honouring those who took part in the clean-up approaching. The pressure to “resolve” the situation was enormous.