By Paul Goble
The Russian Ministry of Justice has declared the Carriers Union of Russia a foreign agent because the group has received some 250,000 rubles (4,000 US dollars) from Germany. The action comes just two weeks before the union plans to restart its strike against the Plato payment system that drivers have staged labor actions before.
Andrey Bazhutin, the head of the union, said the action was not entirely unexpected given that justice ministry officers checked the union’s books the week of November 15-20 but that neither he nor his colleagues viewed the acceptance of such contributions as making them “a foreign agent” (novayagazeta.ru/news/2017/12/01/137526-vystupivshuyu-protiv-platona-organizatsiyu-dalnoboyschikov-priznali-inoagentom).
This designation will give Moscow yet another propaganda tool to be deployed against the strikers and may lead some who had planned to take part in the job action to stay on the job. It may also make it more difficult for Bazhutin to run for Russian president as he has said he hopes to do.