Long-haul truck drivers from Daghestan, Ryazan, Saratov, Orenburg and St. Petersburg converged on Moscow over the weekend only to be blocked near the Russian capital by the police and OMON forces, charged with failing to obey traffic officers and fined or remanded to the courts.
Because the central government-controlled media have not covered this latest labor action, details are only coming to the surface now; but such reports show that Moscow’s claims that the strike has exhausted itself, is over and that there is no need for negotiations are baseless.
The drivers had come to Moscow in order to support their union representatives who were scheduled to have a meeting with transportation ministry officials under the auspices of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society, but at the last minute as before, the transportation ministry refused to take part.
The Council’s working group on the strike issued a declaration saying that the large size of the truckers’ strike and “the general worsening” of economic conditions in the industry are “the result of insufficiently thought-through measures carried out by the government and branch agencies.”
The group called for holding “in the immediate future,” a special session of the Council on the problems surrounding the resolution of the conflict” between the drivers and the government. The transportation ministry has not yet reacted to this call, but it seems unlikely that it will agree to take part.
Indeed, in the past 24 hours, there has been a general hardening of the government’s position against the drivers, with some media outlets seeking to blame the truckers for the absence of repairs to the roads and others suggesting that the West opposes the drivers.
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