On March 26, 2017, Russia was shaken by anti-corruption rallies that took place in about nine dozen cities. In many cases, these protests ended in dispersal, and now some participants may have to spend more than one week in detention facilities. The very next day a strike of truckers began in Russia, in which, judging by the video chronicle, hundreds of drivers took part who did not want to carry the "Platon" system according to which they were charged to pay. In their conversations with correspondents, truck drivers massively complained of a drop in profits and actual unemployment, the cause of which was the deepening crisis in the country. According to some fairly well-known Russian economic commentators, a really noticeable stagnation has just begun, and therefore, even with the complete abolition of Platon, the prospects for Russian business in transporting cargoes seem rather vague.
Even if the cargo carriers achieve complete cancellation of the "Platon-Draconian" payments that are ruinous for them, they will have to work in conditions of a further decline in production, turnover, retail sales, and depletion of the masses. Judging by the words of one of the protesting drivers, some of his colleagues bought their trucks on credit when the economy was still in good condition, but now it is not possible to pay for expensive cars further on. It is also very difficult to sell them to someone, so truck drivers have found themselves in a true stalemate situation. In the conditions of business contraction, reduction of incomes of the population, reduction of consumer expenses, and the growth of food prices it is more profitable for drivers of heavy trucks to simply not go on a trip, so as not to waste time, energy and fuel.
The exposer of corrupt officials Alexey Navalny, who inspired the March rallies mentioned above, has been highlighting his work for a very long time, and now it's even hard to remember when they first began talking about him. It was many years ago when he had started with blogging in LiveJournal, and here in about ten years, this blogger-lawyer-anti-corruption enthusiast has grown to a political figure of the world scale. The world's leading publications write about his investigations, a report on his participation in the rally on March 26 and detention was published by the Guardian newspaper.
However, as some observers have noticed, not so long ago anti-corruption investigations did not cause such a hot response among the broad masses. The reason for this was the relatively high oil prices, which allowed the authorities to maintain an acceptable standard of living and thereby act within the framework of the long-standing social contract in Russia, according to which the population, receiving high incomes, refused to participate actively in politics. Alas, recently due to the country's plunging into the economic crisis, the authorities have ceased to comply with this treaty, the standard of living has fallen noticeably, and the seeds of the next exposure provided by Navalny have fallen on the soil which was freshly loosened and generously watered with hunger and needy.
That is why the victory of the long-empty refrigerator over the television set still-full of propaganda, whose battle in the Russian information space is constantly being discussed for as long as two years, can be considered another reason for thousands of disgruntled people to enter the city squares. In the Russian media, a controversy immediately unfolded with those who argued that the main driving force of these protests was the youth of school and college age.
Commentators objected to such statements and stated that there were also many adults and elderly people in the squares. Indeed, quite a few people, who are clearly far beyond 50, can be seen on the numerous video footage captured in these protests in various cities. Perhaps, so much is said about young people today simply because there were unusually many of them at anti-corruption rallies, and they behaved very bravely. It is not surprising that among the detainees there were many students and even schoolchildren. True, in some previous rallies, including one at the Bolotnaya Square, young people including students took part too. Thus, the young rebels declared their dissatisfaction, not for the first time, and among the participants there were much more of them this time and they behaved, perhaps more actively than usual.
This fact is especially curious because, in the modern Russian school, there is probably no longer such persistent propaganda of revolutionary values that was being brought down on Soviet pupils in the 1980s. Those who are now over forty, of course, still perfectly remember that they are "young Leninists", the former Octobrists, the pioneers and the Komsomol members who "are faithful to the cause of Lenin," and that in general the entire Russian history began on October 25, 1917, and a thousand years before, it has been just the era of dreary vegetation, hopelessness, slavery, exploitation, and oppression of the peasants and proletarians by the landowners, bourgeois, cruel tsarism and its secret police.
Monuments to Lenin, of course, are still largely unharmed in Russia, but they are unlikely today to be such unconditional symbols of the era as they were thirty years ago, and it is unlikely that newlyweds every Saturday rush to lay flowers on their pedestals. At the same time, Russian youth of school age showed itself on March 26 as a very active part of the protest masses.
This means that the revolutionary consciousness is not formed at all by the summary of the communist Talmud in the Lenin's school notebook, not by the marching along the schoolyard in the pioneer dress, not by the rhetoric about the cruiser Aurora, and by the compulsory arguments in the essays about the unprecedented breakthrough in the history of mankind committed by the October revolution.
The events of March 26 showed clearly that the protest consciousness appears under the influence of the political, social and economic situation, which brought to city squares hundreds and thousands of young people who hardly ever wrote essays on the "most human person" Lenin, who in October 1917 overthrew the Provisional Government and "brought humanity to the road leading to happiness". If you believe Russian economists, the crisis will only continue to worsen, and therefore, according to some observers, the Russian spring of 2017 really can become hot.