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- Groundhog saw shadow of unemployment
ST. PETERSBURG, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - Some 300 residents of a northwest Russian town blocked a major road on Tuesday to protest against financial difficulties caused by the closure of three large plants last year.
The Pikalyovo Alumina Refinery was closed last year for conversion. The closure blocked alumina supplies to both Metakhim and Pikalyovo Cement, which employed the bulk of Pikalyovo residents.
"About 300 people, including women and children, have gathered to block the road [linking St. Petersburg with Vologda, in the north of European Russia]," a local police spokesman said.
The Leningrad Region authorities are critical of the move.
"Such campaigns are not a means to solve the problems facing Pikalyovo," a local administration official said.
A representative of Governor Valery Serdyukov urged joint action with trade unions "for the sake of the people."
He said a working group had been established to solve specific problems on the ground.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.