Moscow authorities have chosen Moscow Sokolniki and Gorky parks to serve as “Speakers’ Corners” by analogy with London Hyde Park.
Each park will have an area capable of admitting 2,000 people where public gatherings can be held any time without any special permission, provided the turnout does not exceed the venue capacity. At the same time, the organizers will have to apply online to secure the venue.
The opposition asked for Bolotnaya Square to be designated a “Hyde Park". but City Hall refused explaining that the parks are “more appropriate” venues for free speech zones than squares. Now some of the activists voice fears that the parks are too isolated to gather enough people.
Though the Constitution upholds freedom of assembly, local officials have the right to deny activists preferred venues, citing schedule clashes or concerns for public order. Opposition activists struggled for having special places for holding events without preliminary paperwork.
Author: Julia Alieva