In case you haven’t noticed, Russia’s long-distance truck drivers are angry. And they are, finally, in Moscow.
Right now. It is poetic, I suppose, that today’s long-awaited descent of Russian truckers on Moscow has focused on the city’s ring road: We are going around in circles. Which is to say, we’ve been here before – and we’ll be back here again.
Russia’s rulers have a long-standing habit of pissing people off with the roads. Russia’s roads themselves are usually sufficient to cause rage, but rage in and of itself doesn’t lead to protest. That, instead, requires the addition of insult to injury. That happened when, in May 2005, the government tried to ban right-side-drive cars (of which there were 2 million in the country), bringing drivers out into the streets in a protest strikingly similar to what the truckers are doing today. (More about that similarity later; it is not accidental.) It has happened repeatedly thereafter, either because of punitive taxes on the imports of used cars, or because of the abuse of elite privilege on the roads. You’d think they’d learn. […]
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