Staunton, December 25 – Moscow has managed to suppress almost all coverage of the ten-day long-haul trucker strike across Russia that ended today, but drivers in many regions in the North Caucasus, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East took part and declared among other things that under the Constitution, the people “are the only source of power” in the country.
Only three reports about the strike appeared in the last 24 hours, a measure of the government’s crackdown on coverage rather than of the strength and size of the drivers’ action against the Plato fee system and the government’s efforts to extract more money from them and impose greater controls on their activities.
First, in Vladivostok, officials tried various devices to block or at least divert the truckers and their plans for a rally, but the truckers assembled anyway and despite official bans on signs put up ones declaring that “we are the only source of power in Russia. We are the bearers of sovereignty” (dv.kp.ru/daily/26774/3807662/).
Perhaps important for the future, the United Carriers Union action against Plato was joined not only by members of the National-Liberation Movement (NOD) but also by members of the public who said that they viewed the truck drivers as their allies in opposing rapidly rising domestic gas prices.
Second, in Yekaterinburg, the truckers appealed to all drivers to stop their cars or trucks in sympathy with them. The long-haul drivers there have been out since December 15 to demand the repeal not only of the Plato fee system but also of weight and other restrictions the authorities have imposed on them recently (oblgazeta.ru/news/32454/).
And third, drivers elsewhere in Sverdlovsk oblast declared that they were ready to continue their strike, even though some drivers have been arrested and will be tried tomorrow (eanews.ru/news/society/V_Sverdlovskoy_oblasti_budut_sudit_dalnoboyschikov_za_stachku_protiv_Platona_25_12_2017/).
The Sverdlovsk drivers told local journalists they were encouraged by the fact that they have been able to join forces with the all-Russian action against rising gas prices. How much coverage that protest will receive remains very much an open question.