On October 26, traffic was stopped for three hours on Leninsky Prospect, Barnaul’s central boulevard. In terms of the intensity of outrage and format, such spontaneous popular protests have not taken place in the Altai Krai since winter 2005, when several thousands of demonstrators practically paralyzed the region’s two major cities, Barnaul and Biisk. It was once again pensioners who decided to express their unhappiness with the social policies of the regional administration: they protested the plans of the governor’s team to cancel discounted transportation passes for welfare recipients.
According to eyewitnesses, the first spontaneous groups of unhappy pensioners gathered on October Square, from which they headed towards Square of the Soviets, Barnaul’s central square. It was there, opposite the regional administration building, that the old people formed a human chain and blocked traffic in both directions. Arriving on the scene, regional police commanders (the operation was personally supervised by Generals Oldak and Novikov) put patrol cars in place to cordon off the block and detour traffic. Ambulance crews were also on standby. Continue reading