Most Moscow Residents Support Protest by Truckers, Levada Says

  • One-third of Muscovites say they definitely support protest
  • Almost half of respondents heard news from federal media

Moscow residents are broadly supportive of protests by long-haul truckers over a new toll system in Russia, the Levada Center said.

A third of people polled in Russia’s capital definitely support the protest, while 38 percent said they were probably in agreement, the polling company said Thursday in a website statement. Thirteen percent were probably or definitely opposed and 12 percent said they don’t care.

Truck drivers who protested by slowing traffic outside the city throughout November also briefly blocked several lanes of the Moscow Ring Road on Dec. 4. Last week, lawmakers cut the fine for not having a tracking system to 5,000 rubles ($70) from 450,000 rubles, Interfax reported.

Almost half of the 1,000 people polled Dec. 4-8 had heard about the protests from federal television or radio, according to Levada. Twenty-six percent read about it on the Internet and 22 percent were told about the demonstration by friends or relatives. The poll had a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.

The Platon toll system began in November to charge truckers by the kilometer for use of the federal highway network. It is run by a company part-owned by Igor Rotenberg, son of Arkady Rotenberg, a billionaire ally of President Vladimir Putin. Arkady Rotenberg has been sanctioned by the U.S. and the European Union. All money collected by the RT-Invest Transportation Systems is transferred directly to the Federal Highway Fund, according to the company’s press service.

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