Add to favorite
Subscribe to our Newsletters Subscribe to our Newsletters Get Daily Updates RSS
russian visa

Strategy 31, an Annoying Splinter under the Bear's Nail
August 31, 2010 17:26

It's the August 31, less than a quarter of an hour to the planned march of the "Strategy 31" opposition movement in the centre of Moscow is left. The mayor's office and city government are planning to treat the rally as a provocation.

For the Kremlin it has become something of an embarrassment. On the 31st of the month, a group of noisy protesters gather in downtown Moscow's Triumfalnaya Square. They shout slogans against Vladimir Putin and his regime. The 31ers, as they are known, are seeking to defend Russia's much-abused constitution and in particular article 31 – meant to guarantee freedom of assembly.

Over this year Moscow's city government has devised various tactics to stop these rallies from taking place, ranging from the brutal to the surreal – the campaign is beginning to look like a convoluted game of chess for control of the square. The authorities have turned down all applications to stage the "Strategy-31" gatherings. And in time-honoured Russian fashion, mayor Yuri Luzhkov has sent in the goons, with riot police deployed on every occasion to arrest protesters and chuck them in the back of police vans. In May police broke a journalist's arm; in July officials came up with a rival event in the square – a car rally.

 Ahead of the latest 31 gathering, these tactics have reached a new level of ridiculousness. The government last week announced it was building an underground car park underneath the square and fenced off the whole area. On Friday, two workmen could be seen slowly digging a small hole next to a statue of Russian futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. It is clear that nobody is in any hurry to get the work completed, which could now drag on for years.

In retaliation, the 31ers have decided to take their protest global – with the first demonstration taking place today outside the Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, London and in New York, Helsinki, Berlin and Tel Aviv. "We Russians living abroad cannot stand by quietly and watch as Russia gradually turns into a police state," Andrey Sidelnikov, organiser of the London picket, says. He adds: "In recent years, in Russia the government has consistently refused to citizens of Russia their legitimate right to assemble freely."

 In the eight months since the rallies started, protesters have included elderly dissidents who fought against the Soviet Union and teenagers who were born in the 1990s, well after the collapse of communism. The protests rarely attract more than a few hundred people – although the rally in May drew a crowd of 2,000, which was violently broken up by police.

At some point, one hopes, Russia's authoritarian-minded leadership will have to come up with a creative response to Russia's vigorous social protest movement. A fence simply doesn't cut it.

      RIA News


Tags: Kremlin society Soviet Union   

Next Previous

You might also find interesting:

Fortum Plans To Invest In Siberia Anti-crisis Regulations For Small Businesses To Sell Or Not to Sell Gambling in Russia Google in Russia: Interview

Comment on our site

RSS   twitter      submit

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia  Russian Cinema  Easter  Russiab politicians  Mikhail Bulgakov  Leningrad Region  Exhibitions in Moscow  Gorky Park  Russian sports  Daniil Kharms  Segezha  All-Russian Award For Fidelity to Science  Great Silk Road   Moscow hotels  Air Transport   Kazan transfer  Russian business  Russian sport  Russia international  Festivals in Moscow  Shchi  Pushkin Museum of Fine Art  Russian Traditions  Volgograd, Russian Artists   Holland  Russian fashion  Alley Of Russia   Russian Monuments  Russian economy  Krasnodar Territory  Martial Arts  summer  Russian airports  St. Petersburg  Mechel   Online Events during Quarantine  Jazz  Irkutsk  Russian tourism  Open Russian Fashion  RuTracker  medical cluster   Bashkiria  Russian scientists  Moscow Architecture  Literature  Germany  Russian science  Moscow  Tomsk 

Travel Blogs
Top Traveling Sites