Protesting truck drivers in Dagestan say the government ignores their protest


The participants of the truck drivers’ protest in Dagestan say that during all 12 days of the strike the federal TV channels do not dare to cover the protests, and the local authorities do not want to start a dialogue.

Protests of truckers has been going on all over Russia since March 27th. The strike in Dagestan is one of the most massive: most of the carriers are on strike here. Local drivers continue to protest despite the systematic pressure from the police.

The system Platon that imposes a fare for heavy trucks on federal highways was launched in November 2015. The company-operator of this system belongs to Igor Rotenberg – the son of the Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, an close friend of Vladimir Putin.

“For 12 days the drivers have been standing here, but the authorities do not hear us. More and more people join us every day, people come from the outskirts. If the government heard us, we would not stand here! Everyone has work, problems, family, but people are not going to quit. Only one thing is clear so far: the government does not care,” he stressed.

The main purpose of the protest is the abolition of Platon, but a short-term goal is a meeting with the Minister of Transport Sokolov and Prime Minister Medvedev, said Andrei Bazhutin, who is the leader of the Association of Carriers of Russia.

“Sokolov and Medvedev must meet with representatives of the transport community from all regions. We all have certain demands,” said Bazhutin.

He stressed that the ministers must meet “with real carriers, not the fake ones Medvedev met once.” He assured that Vladimir Matyagin and Sergei Sapronov, who spoke on behalf of truckers at the March meeting with the prime minister, do not express the position of the drivers.