Friday, June 2, 2017

Russia’s Long-Haul Truckers Say They Won’t Pay Plato Fees -- and Know How to Avoid Them

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 2 – Buoyed by yesterdays’ license strike ( and having new evidence that Moscow’s Plato system will not lead to better roads – Moscow has just doubled the period between renovation of major highways ( -- Russian long-haul drivers say will avoid paying the Plato fees.

            The drivers say that they continue to discuss how to “get around” the Plato system and already have identified “several” they can use, although they have no intention of broadcasting their intentions to the authorities lest the government use more draconian measures against them (

            To the extent this is more than bravado, many drivers may see this outcome as safer and more practical than taking part in strikes, the government may accept this as another cost of doing business and allow the drivers to escape paying, and corruption in the trucking industry and its government overseers is likely to increase – which Moscow may not really object to.

            In order to feed their families and avoid losing their trucks, many drivers who had participated in the strike either by parking their vehicles in truck stops or by simply keeping them off the road have been forced to return to work. But many of them have done so in the shadow economy in order to avoid paying the hated fees.

            Symbolic of their situation was a legend written in dust on the back of one truck: “The long-haul drivers have no money, but they are holding on,” a play on Dmitry Medvedev’s remark about how Russians should cope with the new economic reality (

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