The Privileged Still Rule On The Russian Road

Protests across Russia are taking place after a “Oleg Shcherbinsky, a railway worker whose car was hit from behind last summer by a speeding car carrying the Altai region’s governor,” was sentenced to four years in a labor colony. In case it’s not clear from the previous statement, Shcherbinsky was hit by a speeding, negligent driver making a dangerous and illegal maneuver, yet he was found guilty of “careless driving leading to the death of others and for not yielding to a car with priority.” As many of you may have heard, Russian traffic police are notoriously elitist and corrupt, and the privileged basically have free rein on the roads:

Nowhere is the privilege – and abuse – of power more visible to ordinary Russians than on the roads, where politicians and bureaucrats, who have special license plates and blue lights for their luxury vehicles, speed recklessly, force other drivers aside and generally flout the rules. At the same time, ordinary citizens are subject to constant harassment from traffic police, who routinely demand small bribes. These irritants have become the source of open anger because many motorists can easily imagine themselves suffering Shcherbinsky’s fate.

This is a crock of shit, and I hope that media scrutiny forces Russian authorities to rethink this shameful decision. Looks like not as much has changed in Russia as people think…

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