Russian Labor Activists Still See CIA in AFL-CIO

Article excerpt

IN the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, the unthinkable has become reality in many instances.

Such is the case for Tom Bradley, an AFL-CIO organizer who opened the organization's office in Moscow last year.

In the Soviet era it would have been impossible for the AFL-CIO to have a presence in Moscow, Mr. Bradley says, because Soviet propagandists accused the US labor organization of being a capitalist lackey. Now the AFL-CIO, at the invitation of the Russian government, is advising Russia's fledgling independent trade union movement.

But not everything has changed since the cold-war days, Bradley notes. In the eyes of Russia's trade union establishment - the successor of the former Soviet Union's official trade union movement - Bradley is a Central Intelligence Agency operative bent on destabilizing Russia.

"Annually between $7- and $10-million in CIA and US Information Agency funds are funneled, via the AFL-CIO, to the so-called `alternative trade union movement,' " read a bulletin signed by "a group of experts" of the Russian Federation of Independent Labor Unions, the main labor organization.

Accusations against foreign organizations, such as those leveled against the AFL-CIO, are not uncommon these days in Russia. Pressed by economic and political crisis, along with an epidemic of crime and corruption, a feeling among some Russian officials is growing that foreigners are stirring up problems. …