Staunton, May 24 – Russian officials, disturbed by the appearance of a crowd of supporters of the long-haul truckers police arrested in Khimki near Moscow on Sunday, not only organized a late-night court session to fine the three strike leaders but hustled off to some unknown location the nine others. Their fate is as yet unknown.
After the three were released following the imposition of fines ranging from 10,500 to 30,500 rubles (200 to 600 US dollars), they spoke to the crowd and detailed the inhuman conditions in which they had been kept (activatica.org/blogs/view/id/3507/title/s-zaderzhannymi-dalnoboyshchikami-proishodyat-strannosti).
The strike leaders indicated that despite the fines, the truckers were going ahead with plans to establish a second location in the Moscow region for striking truckers to park and provide mutual support. And they said they would press for the release of the nine others who were scheduled to face a judge on Monday morning but did not appear before him.
The fact that the detained drivers attracted a crowd of local supporters and journalists has made it more difficult for the authorities to “fabricate cases and condemn innocent people,” the Activatica portal says.
Another indication of the Russian authorities’ nervousness about the long-haul drivers’ strike yesterday when the Duma took up a measure that would extend the blocking of messenger services like Zello that the drivers have used to organize the strike over the last two months (mk.ru/politics/2017/05/24/gosduma-predlozhila-puskat-v-messendzhery-po-pasportu-i-cenzurirovat-ikh.html).