Staunton, June 17 – The Carriers Union of Russia, the umbrella group that has coordinated the strike of that country’s long-haul truck drivers, says it will nominate its leader Andrey Bazhutin for president of the Russian Federation in order that the working class will have a real choice in the upcoming elections.
The union says that it considers his “base electorate to be the working class,” the part of society which “now is suffering most of all and is most tired of all about the critical situation” of the trucking industry and those industries with which it works (openrussia.org/notes/710579/ and rustelegraph.ru/news/2017-06-16/Dalnoboischiki-vydvinut-svoego-lidera-Bazhutina-na-prezidentskie-vybory-74761/).
Many in the union say that they expect the authorities to try to block Bazhutin’s candidacy, but they point out that he does not have any criminal convictions and therefore is not ineligible on that ground. It is possible that the powers that be may seek to entrap him somehow in order to change that.
Other news from the truckers’ strike front, besides that it continues in various guises and in various places despite official claims to the contrary, include the following:
· Vladimir Putin took no questions from or about the drivers, something that several analysts warn is likely to make an explosion inevitable (riaderbent.ru/voprosy-s-kavkazskim-aktsentom-ogradili-ot-efira-putina.htmlunian.net/politics/1978149-o-chem-promolchal-putin.html and trud.ru/article/17-06-2017/1351298_vopros_truda_glavnaja_problema_v_vashej_zhizni.html).
· St. Petersburg duma opposition deputies say they will provide pro bono legal help to truck strikers arrested in Moscow (ng.ru/regions/2017-06-15/100_petersburg150617.html).
· Truckers point out that unlike other recent protests, their strike was not dominated by young people but rather by the middle-aged (gazeta.ru/comments/2017/06/15_a_10722443.shtml).
· A Moscow television channel has announced plans for a new TV serial, tentatively titled “The Wives of the Long Haul Drivers,” a program likely modelled on American shows and one that will raise issue of the drivers in the middle of public consciousness among Russians (v-kurse.ru/news/life/aktrisa_iz_realnykh_patsanov_vedet_shou_o_zhenakh_dalnoboyshchikov_4335345/).
· Truckers say their strike will continue and even expand once again because there are still “no signs” of a compromise from the authorities who have not kept their word to meet or on some concessions they earlier made (usolie.info/news/avto/snyatie-trekh-shkur-s-dalnoboyshchikov-prodolzhaetsya.html).