Friday, September 29, 2017

Russia’s Long-Haul Truckers Say They are Being ‘Destroyed’ by Authorities

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 29 – The leaders of long-haul truckers unions in Daghestan and North Ossetia, two centers of last spring’s 33-day strike against Moscow’s imposition of the Plato fee system say that they have been unable to mobilize support, that regional officials have reneged on their promises, and that they are now being “destroyed.”

            Abdurashid Samadov, the head of the Daghestani truckers union, has not driven since the end of June. He can’t afford to pay the massive fines officials have imposed on him for not paying the Plato fees before then, a situation that he suggests is true of many of his colleagues as well (

            Until the last, he and they had hoped, he says, that “the country would support their protest, but a miracle didn’t happen.” Regional officials made promises but, either because they lacked the authority or were ordered from above, haven’t kept them.  “Everything has thus ended as one might expect.”

            Now, the drivers are being “destroyed,” Samadov says, because they can’t make any money if they pay the fees and will be fined if they don’t.

            In North Ossetia, apparently, more drivers are choosing to pay the Plato fees rather than risk fines.  That has left them with far lower incomes and a great deal of anger; but one of their number says that there won’t be any protest actions in the future because the past one failed and the drivers are too discouraged to try again.

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