12 Thousand Car Owners Demand Putin’s Resignation

Auto owners rally in Kaliningrad. Source: Rugrad.euApproximately 12 thousand auto owners came together in a massive protest in Kaliningrad on Saturday, citing unfair tariffs on imported vehicles and calling for the resignation of regional and federal officials.

The rally was organized by the opposition movement Solidarity, which has gained significant prominence in Russian politics since its inception little more than a year ago. Movement leaders Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Milov and Ilya Yashin traveled from Moscow to take part in the event.

With the exception of the Kremlin-backed United Russia, representatives of every political party in Kaliningrad were present at the rally: Solidarity, Yabloko, Patriots of Russia, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and A Just Russia, as well as various regional social organizations.

The basis for the rally was the sharp increase of state duties on vehicle registration, as well as high customs duties on imported cars and increased housing and utilities taxes. Protesters demanded the resignation of Kaliningrad Governor and United Russia member Georgy Boos, as well as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his administration.

An analogous rally was held on the same day in St. Petersburg.

This is not the first time Russian car owners have come together in a large act of protest. Last December, five thousand people took part in a similar rally in Kaliningrad, demanding the annulment of high duties and taxes. The Federation of Automobile Owners of Russia initiated a process to form an official political movement last November, which they say would work to solve “the economic problems of the middle class and small businesses,” suffering from unfair vehicle legislation.