Russia: arrests of protesters motorists

Today in Moscow, the demonstrators were protesting against road tax “Plato”. Truck drivers gathered at the Parking lot to protest against the tax that they intend to charge them with power. Their car was surrounded by law enforcement and then demonstrators were detained. Among Them was the leader of the movement Andrew Bautin.

Now, as I write these lines, the detained drivers still behind bars. The police did not allow them to meet with lawyers. Tomorrow they are likely to judge that is likely to cause a colony of strict regime. Police sealed cars, apparently, are preparing for their evacuation.

November 15, 2015 the Russian government has established a system of “Plato” which actually has nothing to do with a Greek philosopher and is short for “charge per ton”. We are talking about a mileage tax for trucks. Funds are collected by the company, 50% owned by Igor Rotenberg, son of Putin’s friend Arkady Rotenberg family. We are talking about additional tax because the state already charges a road tax and higher excise taxes on fuel. We don’t want to work for Rothenberg, said Russian truckers.

Judo may be the key to prosperity. If you do them with Vladimir Putin. The judo Arkady Rotenberg and his brother Boris managed to get a number of highly attractive government contracts. The Kremlin was committed to the construction of roads, pipelines, Olympic facilities, as well as the bridge across the Kerch Strait. He should become a bridge between Crimea and mainland Russia. By the end of the works the original budget can increase considerably. The state pays silently.

In fact, “Plato” is the privatization of roads Rothenberg. While those built on public money, truckers are obliged to pay the friends of Putin sum, which is calculated from the data installed in the truck a GPS tracker. At first, the size of the exaction was 3.73 rubles per kilometer.

In 2015 and 2016, the drivers expressed their dissatisfaction with the operations of the “snail” throughout Russia. The protest have forced the government to lower the rate to 1.53 rubles, and to reduce the penalty for the absence of the Registrar. In the end, to pay still have to the ultimate consumer, as reflected in the final cost of the product.

March 24, 2017 raised the rate to 1.91 rubles per kilometer.

In response, the truckers have announced indefinite nationwide strike from March 27. For its preparation they had to work a lot. In the past the country had only a subordinate power vertical Union organization. So it is required to form a horizontal network of professional solidarity, to create a democratic trade Union: the Union of carriers of Russia. Russian drivers were able to take advantage of new technologies to extend trade Union democracy throughout the vast Russian Federation. The address of the Internet website traffic — It is also present in five social networks, including YouTube and Vkontakte: Video calling is using Skype. It was necessary to repel the threat of the enemy, who did not hesitate to answer.

For communication drivers used Internet radio Zello. The Kremlin has blocked it in Russia. Installed in the truck radios have a radius of a few kilometers. The solution was found by using VPN, which allow you to connect to Zello via other countries to bypass Russia. As a result, the communication through this service have been restored.

In addition, the Kremlin is blocking any information about the protests from truckers in the Russian media. Although the strike is active all across the country, government-owned TV channels about her not hear a word. They are deaf, blind and mute.

1.5 million truckers in fully felt the effects of the crisis that has Russia in recent years. The collapse of the ruble increased the prices of cars and parts that come from abroad. Went up and the cost of fuel. The decline in the retail trade affect the activity of the movement. And now the “Plato”!

The vast majority of drivers are against the new tax. They gather in Parking lots at large cities. Taxi drivers and ordinary motorists support them.

The government decided to use against activists rigid means. In Yekaterinburg in the course went excavators. They dig the trenches around the standing trucks. The goal is not to create for them comfortable conditions, and to isolate them and not allow other cars to join them.

In Dagestan joined the protests, more than 40 thousand drivers. The fact is, almost all of them. 90% of independent entrepreneurs. One of the protests took place at Manas (40 kilometers from Makhachkala and is 150 kilometers from the border with Azerbaijan). The Kremlin sent in the national guard. It is a real army that obeys loyal supporter of Putin, General Zolotov. She has exceptional powers and the right to fire on the crowd. Its available armored vehicles. Guards are regularly trained to disperse “Maidan”, which could happen in Russia. The exercise also involved tanks and aircraft.

The presence of the guard plays a terrifying role. We all know what they are capable Russian military in the Caucasus, Putin’s order.

All decisions of the protesting drivers are taken in a democratic way: they must be approved at the meeting by the majority of participants who agree by a show of hands. In Dagestan and Ingushetia, they decided to separate. Nevertheless, stocks are continuing in a different form, because the problem remained.

Formed in the result of the past with huge violations of the elections, the State Duma adopted the soul of the freedom laws that prohibit any non-approved power Assembly. Some even call it the “mad printer”. In theory, only individual pickets. Any meeting with the presence of more than one person at a distance less than 50 meters from each other is a violation of the law. Article 212.1 of the Criminal code provides a penalty of five years in prison for four violations within six months. It concerns and drivers, whose meetings are considered public.

Andrew Bautino know it. He was detained several times already.

Penalties are one after the other. Protesters across Russia pouring in fines and arrests. They are detained in the Parking lot or home, and people in masks taking them away in an unknown direction. Anyway, the strike continues. In large cities in European and Asian part of Russia still are the cars of truckers. They will never accept “Plato”!

This movement of Russian drivers includes professional carriers regardless of their nationality. It becomes a unifying force in the country, which are threatened by ethnic conflict and where federalism is undermined by the authoritarian regime.

In addition, the Union of carriers of Russia is a part of the future of civil society, which is absolutely necessary in a democratic Russia after so many decades of restrictive absolutism.

The struggle with the “Plato” — a struggle for democracy and freedom.