Staunton, VA, April 9, 2010 – The long-haul truckers’ strike is far larger and thus having a much bigger impact on the economy than many suspect not only because the state-controlled media have not been willing to cover it but also because of the specific nature of the truckers’ action and the situations they face with regard to the authorities, according to Novaya gazeta.
The strike, the paper says, has truly become an all-Russian action with strikers appearing from Vladivostok to Smolensk and from Daghestan to Yamal. But because the strikers don’t have an all-Russian coordinating center (lest it be closed by the authorities), the national number of truckers involved is unclear.
At the local and regional strikes, however, organizers have good figures; and so journalists from the independent Moscow newspaper visited some of these in Kurgan, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, St. Petersburg, Murmansk, Irkutsk, and Dagestan in order to draw some broader conclusions.
The paper offers three: First, the size of the action is typically seriously underestimated because many truckers who are participating are doing so simply by parking their trucks and not doing anything more than that. That makes them “invisible” if one is looking only at those who come together on the roads.
Second, “with the exception of Dagestan where there have been clashes among the long-haul truckers, protests are occurring is a clearly peaceful fashion.” Dispersing the truckers and other force measures are in every case at “the initiative of regional siloviki.”
And third – and this is the most important of all – this strike is going to last a long time “because the long-haul truckers do not have any motivation to end their work action” until the authorities back down on the Platon system and other tariffs to which the truckers object.