Causing “mass disorders” and “committing banditry”. These are the charges that convicted over a hundred people after the Novocherkassk Massacre that occurred in June of 1962. The whole thing started at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Works (NEVZ) in Novocherkassk. The plant workers had finally gotten sick of the rising food prices, wage cuts and the backlog of unresolved grievances. These included housing shortages, work safety, and the food poisoning of over 200 workers (Freeze 432).
Angered by these things, the workers marched to the center of Novocherkassk, where they gained the support of the townspeople and ended up with a group of about four thousand people. Because the group was so large, they managed to keep the local police and later even armored units at bay. However, in the end the crowd was dispersed by gunfire that killed twenty four and injured dozens of others.
After the shooting, the government proceeded to cover up the whole affair. The first story on the massacre was not published until 1988 in a Soviet newspaper. What is particularly interesting about this is that the grievances
that the NEVZ workers experienced were not unique to them. They were issues that affected workers all over the country. So why then were they the only ones to rebel against them?
Seventeen Moments in History. 1961: Novocherkassk Massacre. Lewis Siegelbaum, 2013.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia A History. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. 432-433. Print.