A driver who refused to give way to a government-owned vehicle traveling on the wrong side of the road in Moscow has been fined $2,750 after being found guilty of striking a traffic police officer with his car bumper during the standoff.
Vadim Korovin, a member of the Federation of Russian Car Owners lobby group, was found guilty of committing a non-life-threatening act of violence against a public official after he hit the officer with his front bumper last May, Russian daily Noviye Izvestiya reported Friday.
The officer, who suffered bruising to his shin as a result of the incident, was trying to make Korovin pull over after he failed to give way to an Interior Ministry vehicle forming part of a security detail motorcade traveling on the wrong side of the Rublevo-Uspensky Shosse outside of Moscow, the report said. The area around the highway, known as Rublyovka, is notorious for its wealthy residents and extravagant homes.
Investigators said the ministry vehicle had on "migalki," the detachable blue sirens that give government officials priority on the road. Korovin argued it was unsafe for him to pull over because the road surface was wet, Noviye Izvestiya reported.
Korovin's defense said it would appeal the fine — reduced by the court judge from the 200,000 rubles ($5,500) that prosecutors were seeking to 100,000 rubles — and that it would refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights, the report said.
Korovin's prosecution has again raised the issue of officials' usage of migalki, which in the eyes of many Russians have come to signify the corruption of those who think themselves above the law.
Several high-profile fatal accidents have involved cars with migalki, prompting criticism that their owners have no regard for other drivers or the rules of the road, and calls for their use to be limited.
In 2010, the Blue Bucket Society was set up to protest the usage of flashing lights. Members of the group attached colored buckets to the roofs of their cars in a sign of dissent.