In any case, even a gilded cage is still a prison, for an accident that - by all appearences - was not caused by Mr. Shcherbinsky. I see a MosNews article by Ms. Lisa Vronskaya cites:
Good of Mr. Ryshkov to see things so clearly. I also commend these Russian protestors for organized civil protests for something that should be corrected: one set of laws for the elite on the roads and a second set of laws for the average citizen. You can love your country and still criticize it or wish it to change for the better.
A court in Altai Region where the tragic accident had taken place sentenced Oleg Shcherbinsky to four years in a labor settlement, triggering a wave of protests across the country.
On Sunday, a column of hundreds of cars drove slowly through the Russian capital as local motorists fed up with special traffic rules for Russia’s ruling elite massed in a peaceful protest, AFP reported. “The Shcherbinsky case has resonated throughout Russian society,” said Vassily Bochin, a 35-year-old computer programmer, who took part in the demonstration in Moscow, one of 21 planned across the country. “We want the law to be equal for everyone.”
Thousands of people took part in the protests by driving in convoy through cities with slogans including “Today it’s Shcherbinsky. Tomorrow it will be you!” draped on their cars, Reuters reported. “Today Shcherbinsky — Tomorrow You!” read placards posted in the windows of participating cars.
Protests in Moscow were organized by a group calling itself the Free Choice Motorists’ Movement. The convoy began at a site in north-west Moscow and traveled along roads frequently used by government officials.
“Every person in Russia understands they could easily find themselves in Oleg Shcherbinsky’s shoes,” said Vladimir Ryzhkov, a member of parliament who represents Barnaul. “People are upset that bureaucrats break the rules and an ordinary person ... through no fault of his own, gets four years in prison. That is why there has been such an uproar.”
Personally, I found that driving in Russia is sort of a crazy thing ... any stretch of open road definitely invites high speed. Passing rules seemed a bit chaotic and unclear to me, although on the M8 heading northeast out of Moscow, it seems to be 3 or 4 lanes wide, largely unpainted. The middle lane (or lanes) is what we call here in the US a "suicide lane" - shared by cars coming both directions for passing. In the US we don't design or use suicide lanes for highway speeds; they are for more urban or suburban settings. Use of the shoulders as a driving lane during traffic jams appears to be either encouraged or at least tolerated (very illegal here ... shoulder is for ambulances, police, and broken down cars only). Also I often observed drivers squeezing their car in at stop lights. Sure, maybe it was designed and painted for 4 lanes each direction, but a 5th car will fit and we'll get ahead of this truck.
Ironically, getting a license the right way seems a bit difficult. Katja is going through a driving school now, hoping to pass it this month. It becomes ironic because what I hear - from every other Russian - is that she is foolish to take this exam. People say she should just grease the official with a little dengi ($$) under the table and get her license the way everyone else does ... by bribery.
Some other articles regarding the verdict and protests can be found on the Washington Post (Yes, I know) ... ITAR-TASS (including a reference to "Say no to Flashers" group) ... the UK's Daily Telegraph ... Reuters (here reprinted at the Malaysia Star) ... and even Aljazeera.
Lastly, a very interesting account of the accident from Avto-Russia.ru ... an apparent motoring enthusiasts website or magazine in Russian.
A quick google of Vladimir Ryzhkov indicates he is a deputy member of the Duma, has been a critic of Putin's government in the recent past, and is alternatively described as "independent" or an "OHR (Our Home is Russia) Faction leader". I would guess the OHR stuff is outdated as their supposed website pulls up an online camera store instead. I'm not sure if voices such as Mr. Ryzhkov's are seen in Russian politics as ... pandering to the populace ... or being responsive to voters ... or attempting to make "political hay when the sun shines".