A rally was held on the ‘Unity and Harmony’ square.
On December 21, 2015, truck drivers assembled in a protest rally at the ‘Unity and Harmony’ square in Tyumen’. From November 15, 2015, the truck drivers in the whole country are protesting against the thieving PLATON system, which obliges truck drivers carrying more than 12 tons to pay for passage on federal highways. There are demonstrations and snail strikes (truck drivers block the road driving no more than 10 km/h) in almost every region of the country. In some regions the truck drivers went as far as to barricade the roads.
It cannot be said that the government completely ignores these protest actions. President Putin signed a bill, according to which the fine for truck drivers who don’t pay the PLATON system fee is reduced 90 times. According to this law, instead of the initially-planned 450 000 rub. fine, a driver will pay 5000 rub. for the violation. For a second violation the size of the fine will grow to 10 000 rubles.
Trucks that go out of country are freed from the fine, given they have not driven more than 50 km from the border and the fee was paid into the system prior to the examination of the case by the administrative court. In the case of violations committed multiple times in a day, drivers will have to deal with a fine only for the first one.
Nevertheless, drivers are not content with such a hand-out on behalf of the government. They demand a full repeal of the PLATON system. Moreover, long-distance truck drivers are beginning to understand, that the economic struggle is inseparable from the political one. For this reason, every truck driver rallying in Tyumen’ requested the resignation of the government of Russia. The truck drivers were particularly upset that the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, D. A. Medvedev, called them ‘black-market transporters’. The protesting truck drivers posed a legitimate question: who in the country created such economic conditions, that truck drivers cannot earn enough legally?
Pavel Antipov, a truck driver participating at the demonstration, explained that the government seeks to monopolize all branches of production, they need large companies led by oligarchs, who would be ready to share their revenues with the ruling power at any given moment. This is why the government introduces excessive and senseless fees meant to oust independent truck drivers out of business.
Truck driver Sergey Shorokhov said that as Putin announced the introduction of the PLATON system at a press conference, he made a few thousand families face poverty. Now, the drivers will be required to either pay large fees, and consequentially remain without a salary, or to look for a new job of a lower pay-grade.
The driver from Kurgan, who came to support the Tyumen’ colleagues, said that the government exasperates truck drivers; it expects that people will abandon the struggle for their rights. At the same time, people simply don’t have the possibility to reach their goal by any method other than to go rally and demand that the government repeal their anti-popular laws. The courts in the country don’t decide anything, therefore it is senseless to appeal to them. He called everyone to be as active as possible in the struggle for their rights, as that is the only way to achieve victory.
Another local truck driver, Il’nar Fasahutdinov, took part at the rally. He spent more than a week at the truck drivers’ protest camp in Moscow. He tells that the truck drivers were kept out of the capital under different pretexts: truck columns were broken up, illegal technical checks were carried out, documents were seized, truck drivers were banned to leave the parking lot in their vehicles and much more. He finished his speech with the words, “Don’t say no more that we are outside of politics! Politics came to our home! Today, the struggle is against PLATON – in first place, it is a struggle for a change in the political course of the government!”
Apart from that, many private entrepreneurs took part at the rally. The government made them a ‘present’ too by introducing the EGAIS, Unique Governmental Automated Information System, meant to serve the government to control the volume of production and the distribution of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products. Through this system, private entrepreneurs practically lose the possibility to trade in alcohol-containing products, since the producers and importers of alcohol must send information about their production to the Russian Alcohol Regulating Board. The connexion to this system costs around 150 000 rub., and requires the payment of monthly fees and the compilation of complete records. Fines for errors in the records would amount to 150 000-200 000 rubles. This will lead small business to either completely stop trading in their most popular products and go bankrupt, or to considerably raise prices and lose buyers. Participants at the rally said that these measures are made to get rid of small businesses and give their market shares to large consumer store chains, the majority of which are owned by oligarchs and relatives of the leading politicians.
Many of the speakers pointed out that PLATON, EGAIS and the introduction of a ridiculous tax for capital repairs are all parts of one mechanism, serving to rip off the people as much as possible, making survival its only and creating slaves out of the following generation. Several times, appeals to unite all protesting forces and to stand against the murderous politics of the State were heard. The long-distance truck drivers called upon all citizens of Tyumen’ to support their fair protest. Since already today, a month after the PLATON system was introduced; the prices on groceries and basic goods were raised noticeably. If the application of thievish fees is not stopped, the prices will continue growing at an incredible speed. In such conditions, a general consolidation against the murderous capitalistic course of the current power in government is a necessity. Capitalism can only be beaten through a common effort!
Press Centre of the Tyumen’ provincial committee of RKRP-KPSS
Translated from: http://www.rotfront.su/%D1%82%D1%8E%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%B9%D1%89%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8-%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%8C-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5/
Originally published on 23.12.2015 on rotfront.su .