Truckers Speak about Whose Fault It Is and What to Do about It

At the request of Bird in Flight, Novaya Gazeta photojournalist Evgeny Feldman set off for the Moscow suburb of Khimki to meet with the protesting truckers.

Truck drivers, who have already been protesting the implementation of a per-kilometer toll system on federal highways for over a month, changed their tactics this weekend and instead of trying to cause a major traffic jam, they set up a camp in Khimki at Moscow’s doorstep. Photojournalist Evgeny Feldman spent two days with the truckers and tried to understand who they blame in the confusing situation and how they would fix things.


Idiots are to blame. What can we do? Fix the roads. Some cop in Tver pulled me over and said, “Where you headed?” I said I’m going to Moscow. “For what?” They say the President isn’t there. That bastard swore to us three times that he would protect our interests, and you know, I go all over Russia and I can see that nothing’s been done. Bullshit!


I don’t know whose fault it is. Probably the people who made this system. What can we do? Scrap the system. Right now we’re here, picketing across the country. They told us that they can’t change anything at local levels, so we came to Moscow to strike. Our governor in Arkhangelsk Oblast called us brainless.


Our leadership who steals from us is at fault. They need to approach the managing of means and resources more properly. The Court of Auditors should punish those who break the rules. They steal money in Sochi, at the cosmodromes and in Crimea as far as the bridge goes.


Whoever legalized this extortion which is in direct opposition to the Constitution is to blame. The better solution at this point would be to review the decision, even though the authorities are not used to backing down. They are destroying their own people. We need to stand up for ourselves. A lot of people watch TV and now, when the leadership lies about us, they’re thinking whether or not they were told the whole truth about Ukraine and Syria.

Yura and Anatoly

What to do? We need to struggle and get what’s due to us. Using legal means. We want people to hear us out and consider whether we have any money left to pay the tolls. Where did they get these numbers from and why didn’t they just decide to take everything away? Why did they stop at three rubles per kilometer? Why not twenty? They say that we’re destroying the roads, but roads are made to be used. Or, they could announce the return of serfdom. They’ve made us the scapegoats.


It’s obvious that it’s not our fault. What to do? Let the president decide, why else did we elect him? Who else can we depend on? If they don’t hear us out it will only make more people angry, the truckers are just the first ones to rise up. Locals bring us food and fuel and invite us to come in and wash up. The president needs to hear that. He’s an athlete, and all athletes know how to both win and lose.


Putin’s childhood friends are to blame. What to do? Putin needs to decide who he is with: the people or his friends. Yesterday at the protest, I wanted to scream it louder into the microphone so that someone could show it to him; he was a simple kid, after all, maybe he would remember what it’s like, some tears would roll down his cheek and he would say to himself that we are his people and he’s just like one of us.

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