Staunton, June 28 – Andrey Bazhutin, the leader of the Carriers Union which is behind the long-haul truckers’ strike in Russia, is already proving to be more than a single-issue candidate for Russian president, raising issues of decentralization of state power as well as calling for the elimination of the Plato system that the truckers want.
Not surprisingly, the union leader has focused on issues that animate the truckers, the elimination of the Plato system and improvements in roads and services in order to improve deliveries and bring down prices for ordinary Russians (topdialog.ru/2017/06/26/lider-protestuyushhih-dalnobojshhikov-hochet-ballotirovatsya-v-prezidenty/).
But in addition, Bazhutin is calling for changing Russian law to allow municipalities to get involved in economic activity, a step that would give them an alternative source of income and allow them to help their populations cope with economic decline; and he is urging candidates in municipal elections to join him in making this demand.
Meanwhile, there were two other developments over the last two days regarding the long-haul truckers’ strike. On the one hand, the Daghestani government, which earlier had been the most solicitous in meeting trucker demands, has now reversed course and taken a hard line against the drivers (kavkaz.versia.ru/dagestanskie-vlasti-prodinamili-dalnobojshhikov).
And on the other, and in the obvious hope that such reports will undermine any public support for the truckers, a Moscow newspaper is reporting that “more than half” of all long-haul truckers in Russia are foreigners who, it is implied, are exploiting the country in which they work (ng.ru/kartblansh/2017-06-28/3_7017_kartblansh.html).