by Laurie Kazan-Allen

The Russian town of “Asbest” is one of 340 so-called Russian monotowns – a municipality devoted principally to one industry. In this case, as the name itself suggests, it is the mining of asbestos.1 But times are hard for Uralasbest, the company which runs the asbestos mine and provides employment for 6,700+ people. According to Russian journalist Anna Nemtsova “in the past nine months, the profits of the town’s main employer have been melting away because of shrinking global demand and local economic pressures such as steep tariffs on mining trains.”

Disgruntled Uralasbest workers report substantial reductions in pay. One employee from the ore-dressing line told Ms. Nemtsova that although his monthly salary was 25,000 roubles ($767) his pay packet only contained 15,000 roubles ($460). In an IBAS interview with an expert on the Russian asbestos industry, Uralasbest’s economic plight was confirmed:

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