Staunton, April 25 – Not only are more drivers continuing to join the long-haul truckers’ strike across the Russian Federation, but two developments in the last 24 hours demonstrate that the strikers are attracting more public and political support and that some officials who earlier moved against the strike have been compelled to back down.
In Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, about 300 people assembled in a meeting to show their support for the drivers. The action was organized by Bair Pirenov, a deputy in the republic parliament. Those who took part carried signs declaring “I’m a Long-Haul Driver Too” and “Can it be that half the truckers on strike are in Ulan-Ude alone?” (asiarussia.ru/news/16005/
That last query which was handwritten on printed signs of the former refers to the fact that there are now more than 250 trucks taking part in the strike action in the Buryat capital alone, more than half of the 480 that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave last week (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/04/russian-truckers-say-600000-drivers-on.html).
Regional strike leaders said they felt they had achieved their goals because senior officials have now met with them and Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko has promised a full-scale review of the Plato system. They said that they would suspend their action now but resume it at a moment’s notice if the government didn’t move quickly to end the Plato fees.
Tsyrenov, a KPRF deputy, said that the long-haul drivers in Buryatia had decided to go back to work now because they must earn money to feed their families, although he added that “many were inclined to remain on strike until a victorious conclusion.” The meeting, which he helped organize, thus represents the end “of one of the stages of a protest which will continue.”
But while the strike has been suspended in Buryatia and the Transbaikal, the deputy continued, drivers in nearby Irkutsk Oblast and elsewhere remain off the job, Tsyrenov continued. In addition to the communist deputy, deputies from the United Russia Party and independents as well as Yabloko activists took part in the meeting.
Meanwhile, in Daghestan, the strikers continued their action and, together with local people, have forced the local authorities to back down. The police earlier had arrested two striking drivers. In response, the residents of Kayakent blocked a highway. They agreed to end that action if the truckers were released. That has now happened (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/301620/).