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Putin is briefed on truckers’ protests, but Kremlin knows nothing of their letter

November 30, 2015, 15:47 UTC+3 PARIS

Russian truck drivers have been staging protests over the past weeks

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© Anton Vergun/TASS

PARIS, November 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is regularly briefed on protests by truck drivers, but the Kremlin knows nothing about their message, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has told the media.

"In general, the president is informed on the basis of mass media reports about what is happening," Peskov said, when asked, if the head of state was aware of on-going protests by long haul truck drivers.

As for the drivers’ message to Putin, Peskov said he knew nothing about it.

"I don’t know if there’s been any letter or via what channels it was to arrive," he said.

The Platon system charging fees from heavy trucks with a mass of more than 12 tonnes for using the federal roads has been in effect since November 15. Up to March 1 2016 the truck drivers will have to pay 1.53 rubles (roughly four US cents) per kilometer. Under the existing plans the rate is to go up in the future. Over the first two weeks in operation the system raised 550 million rubles for the federal road fund. This year’s target revenue is 40 billion. The money is to be spent on road repairs.

Of late, truck drivers in different parts of Russia have been staging various protest actions. On November 28 Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov held a meeting with a group of truck drivers to say afterwards that stopping the operation of the Platon system was impossible at the moment. The government and State Duma members have already taken compromise steps to lower the rates.

Sokolov invited cargo transport companies to participate in selecting road infrastructure projects the raised money are to be invested into. The details of the road projects that receive investment will be available from a special section of the Palton website.

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