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Uralkali staff files petition over Baumgertner release to Lukashenko

September 27, 2013, 13:55 UTC+3

The appeal was signed by about 6,000 employees of the Russian company

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Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/Uralkali Press Service

Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/Uralkali Press Service

MOSCOW, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - Staff at Russia’s Uralkali potash company have appealed to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko asking him to set free company CEO Vladislav Baumgertner, the firm’s press service told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Seeking Baumgertner’s release from detention, imposed as Belarusian prosecutors investigate alleged abuse of corporate power, the appeal noted that “differences between Belaruskali (the Belarusian fertilizers producer) and Uralkali over supplies to foreign markets are the reason behind dramatic developments.”

It went on: “We also understand that commercial disputes may make unexpected turns, but there have been different times and different situations in the history of partnership between Uralkali and Belaruskali, and we have always managed to stay within the framework of a dialogue, aware of the fraternal nature of our cooperation".

“We believe that the incident was an attempt to settle through power methods an economic dispute between the two companies and all differences emerging in this connection,” the letter said.

The appeal was signed by about 6,000 employees of the Russian company, urging a speedy settlement to the dispute. “We all hope for an early release of the company’s director general, and I am sure that support expressed by workers of Uralkali is especially important,” acting director general Viktor Belyakov said in comments on the affair.

In earlier developments, Kama Region Governor Viktor Basargin, head of the region where Uralkali’s two plants are located - and State Duma lower house parliamentarian Igor Barinov personally vouched for Baumgertner.

Basarkin noted that the situation could “destabilize the activity of Uralkali, on which the well-being of the citizens of Solikamsk and Berezniki, home to almost 250,000 people, depends,” as well as “damage the image of Russia and its economy”.

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