Long-haul truckers in Russia conducted their third countrywide work stoppage during the holiday season Dec. 15-25. Since November 2015 they have fought the government over the Platon tax system, a per-ton toll imposed on owners of trucks weighing over 12 tons.
A government media blackout of the truckers’ fight has made news on the strike scarce. But reports from rallies, pickets and trucks camped in parking lots show actions took place across the country.
On Dec. 1 the government declared the Association of Carriers of Russia, the truckers’ union, a “foreign agent,” in an attempt to isolate the drivers and weaken participation in the walkout. On Dec. 11 national union leader Andrey Bazutin was detained and sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest in another step aimed at undermining the protests.
Other arrests of regional and local union leaders and cop harassment of local actions supporting the truckers show Moscow’s concern about the resilience of the drivers and their refusal to be intimidated.