How opposition forces in Russia struggle against the state power with the help of traffic jams

Aug 2019
Los Angeles

In recent years, a wave of mass protests swept European countries. Hundreds of thousands of people go to the streets to express dissatisfaction and disagreement with the government policies. One of the most shining examples is the protests of the so-called 'Yellow Vests movement' in France. The manifestations started in the middle of November 2018 after the government's decision to raise taxes on diesel fuel since 2019. Soon, the protests turned into disorders, accompanied by clashes with the police. The initial demands of the demonstrators concerned mainly the economic and social spheres, but soon the list expanded significantly up to resignation of current president of France Emmanuel Macron. Demonstrators in Austria, Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands and Serbia took the French initiative. The UK citizens are also dissatisfied with the actions of the government concerning Brexit and that is why thousands of people run the protest actions. However, despite mass protests, the British government still intends to withdraw the country from the EU.

Of course, mass protest actions are one of the most effective ways to demonstrate public discontent. However, in many cases, such protests do not lead to any pragmatic changes in the government policy. Then, more effective and sophisticated methods of combating the ruling regime come to the rescue. In that way, the experience of Russian opposition is rather interesting. Due to the impossibility of holding authorized rallies and processions (as the Russian authorities simply do not give permission to organize them), activists have to invent new ways of struggling against the government. So, in the team of one of the main opposition leaders in Russia, Alexei Navalny, known for his struggle against flourishing corruption in the country, someone decided to use the difficult situation on Russian roads for their purposes. An action was developed and carried out, in which traffic jams on the Russian roads were created artificially by simulating road accidents. For example, protesters left their own or rented cars in the busiest places under the pretext of technical malfunction, thereby creating traffic jams. At the same time, they posted comments criticizing the government and reporting on planned actions in various apps, where one can track the traffic situation and share opinion on what is happening with the traffic jam neighbors. It is necessary to mark that the situation on Russian roads is really complex. Every day, large cities of the country are filled with unending traffic jams, which causes huge discontent among the citizens. The reason of these traffic jams is most often the lack of attention of the authorities to this problem. Thus, the opposition attracts new supporters of the protest movement and exposes the people's discontent by the ruling elite and its policy.

It is noteworthy that this method is quite simple to implement and does not require large financial costs, while its effectiveness is doubtless. Perhaps, European activists should move a little away from the traditional model of opposing the ruling regime in the form of endless manifestations and look at the innovations of Russian colleagues, because only with the help of such non-standard measures we, Europeans, who do not agree with what is happening in our countries, can really achieve changes.


Forum Staff
Oct 2010
Thanks. Putin and his cohorts have made a mockery of the Russian constitution and of Russian democracy. The current day elections are merely a revision of the old Soviet elections.

The Russian people are searching for their voice. The traffic jam protests are one way they've begun to find their voice.