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New long-haul truckers’ strike may be most important action yet, Klyamkin says

Long-distance truckers on strike in St. Petersburg, Russia (Image:
Long-distance truckers on strike in St. Petersburg, Russia (Image:
New long-haul truckers’ strike may be most important action yet, Klyamkin says
Edited by: A. N.
Igor Klyamkin
Igor Klyamkin

The ongoing long-haul truck drivers’ strike is fundamentally different in its import from the March 26 demonstrations, Igor Klyamkin says. The first was an ethical protest but the second is “a solid economic protest of a vitally important professional group against pressure on its interests that has risen to an expression of political distrust.”

The longtime Moscow analyst and commentator points out that this strike, in contrast to the ones of 2015, “is well organized,” has thrown up new structures, and continues to spread “throughout the country.” What is most important, he stresses is “the powers that be still don’t know how to react.”

That is because, Klyamkin suggests, that the authorities are encountering a kind of self-organization from below and that “strikes for economic goals that with time acquire a political coloration” is something that for Russia is “nothing new” and hardly reassuring to the Kremlin today.

“It is sufficient to recall the general strike of 1905 which put before the tsar the choice between a dictatorship and concessions.”
That tradition is very much alive, the analyst says, while “there is no experience in Russia with long-term political protest of the ‘Maidan’ type,” despite the hopes of some in the opposition.

Klyamkin concludes by noting that he is not prepared to offer historical analogies to what is happening now. Clearly, he says, Russia is not where it was in 1905 or where it was at the end” of Soviet times. But he says he is quite prepared to insist that “today the situation is not what it was a week ago,” because of the truckers more than because of the street protesters.

Five other developments and commentaries offered about this in the last two days provide additional evidence for Klyamkin’s conclusion:

  • Increasingly, there is anger that the government-controlled media [most media in Russia – Ed.] aren’t covering the protests.
  • The truckers’ strike in Daghestan has been joined by merchants in the cities there.
  • The truckers’ strike is seen triggering clashes in the North Caucasus that could work to the benefit of ISIS.
  • At the very least, the strike is going to have an impact on the campaign for president in that region.
  • The truckers’ strike is spreading from its initial organizing points to ever more federal subjects.


Edited by: A. N.
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