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Protests Across Russia Over Jailed Driver

(RFE/RL) 12 February 2006 -- Thousands of motorists staged protests in Moscow and other Russian cities today over the jailing of a driver who was involved in the road death of a top regional politician.

Several hundred demonstrators formed a column in downtown Moscow demanding proper justice for ordinary drivers whose vehicles are involved in accidents with big official limousines.

The jailed motorist was given a four-year sentence after an accident in Altai Krai in Siberia in which the regional governor was killed.

Mikhail Yevdokimov's official car was travelling at an estimated 150-to-200 kilometers an hour on a country road when it brushed the convicted man's car while attempting to pass, then slammed into a tree.

Today's protests, held also in St. Petersburg and several cities in the Asian part of Russia, were against what is seen as an increasing abuse of privileges by official drivers.