Category Archives: protest

EDITORIAL: Kozlovsky’s Army Under Siege

EDITORIAL

Kozlovsky’s Army Under Siege

“I was furious when I heard Putin speaking fairy tales in Davos about how our economy is under control. It is my duty to stand up for my rights. I want to live in a good place. I want my children to grow up in a free country, not a gulag.”

– Yevgeny Antipov, a 21-year-old student in Vladivostok last weekend, insisting that he was not afraid to be marching against the government for the first time.

A Putin supporter makes the only argument he can in favor of his Master. The young lady is probably not convinced.  Are you?

A Putin supporter makes the only argument he can in favor of his Master. The young lady is probably not convinced. Are you?

Does U.S. President Barack Obama ever intend to speak out on the oppression of basic democratic and liberal values in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, values he supposedly holds dear? Or are Obama’s pretty words just that, and nothing more?

Oleg Kozlovsky and his opposition organization Oborona (“Defense”) continue to face outrageous harassment from the barbaric band of thugs who run the Moscow Kremlin.  Obama continues his repugnant, cowardly silence.  We fear that those who told us to trust that Obama would act once he took power were seriously misled.

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Now, the Kremlin Literally Sh*ts on People

Reuters reports:

The stench of dung stopped anti-Kremlin protestors rallying in the Russian city of Murmansk on Tuesday, an opposition activist said. Opponents of President Vladimir Putin had hoped to rally on the porch of the Culture Palace but city authorities closed the building, took away the porch’s steps and spread dung around it, said Yelena Vasilyeva, local leader of the United Civil Front opposition movement. “The stench was so strong you couldn’t breathe, so only the most tenacious stayed,” she said. Dung was spread around a landmark building to fertilise the land, said a police spokesman in Murmansk, a city not far from Russia’s borders with Norway and Finland. Around 150 people braved the smell and carried on with the protest shouting “We need a different Russia” and “Out with Putin”, Vasilyeva said. About 10 activists from Moscow were refused tickets to fly to the demonstration where they had planned to speak. Police had also warned local activists against attending, Vasilyeva said. In Moscow, anti-Kremlin protestors called off a march on Monday after city authorities refused to sanction the planned route, but managed to hold a rally of about 1,500 people.

It seems “President” Putin has not only shown his true colors but his true scent as well.

Now, the Kremlin Literally Sh*ts on People

Reuters reports:

The stench of dung stopped anti-Kremlin protestors rallying in the Russian city of Murmansk on Tuesday, an opposition activist said. Opponents of President Vladimir Putin had hoped to rally on the porch of the Culture Palace but city authorities closed the building, took away the porch’s steps and spread dung around it, said Yelena Vasilyeva, local leader of the United Civil Front opposition movement. “The stench was so strong you couldn’t breathe, so only the most tenacious stayed,” she said. Dung was spread around a landmark building to fertilise the land, said a police spokesman in Murmansk, a city not far from Russia’s borders with Norway and Finland. Around 150 people braved the smell and carried on with the protest shouting “We need a different Russia” and “Out with Putin”, Vasilyeva said. About 10 activists from Moscow were refused tickets to fly to the demonstration where they had planned to speak. Police had also warned local activists against attending, Vasilyeva said. In Moscow, anti-Kremlin protestors called off a march on Monday after city authorities refused to sanction the planned route, but managed to hold a rally of about 1,500 people.

It seems “President” Putin has not only shown his true colors but his true scent as well.

The Other Russia Marches Continue

Other Russia reports their recent protest march in St. Petersburg (pictured left). It seems they are making progress, having managed to keep Putin’s stormtroopers at a distance this time.

What wasn’t said by the chants and the banners held by the marchers was clearly spoken by the massive police presence in St. Petersburg today for the latest Dissenters’ March. “Russia Without Putin”, “We Need Another Russia”, “This Is Our City”, “No Police State!”. Radio Ekho of Moscow reported that between 8,000 and 10,000 police had been brought in from other part of the country to St. Petersburg, which is hosting an International Economic Forum this weekend. Garry Kasparov, on of the Other Russia leaders at the event, said afterwards that “the energy was enormous. Now we know the regime is right to be afraid of us.”

There was nothing like the police brutality that occurred at the St. Petersburg rally on March 3. Today the police acted correctly and there were few incidents. Instead, they lined the path of the March in an attempt to prevent people joining once it was underway, but did not act when the sheer number of marchers inevitably overflowed the pedestrian walkway into the street at several points. Despite the intense security force presence, the number of marchers clearly surpassed the unrealistic 500 limit set by the authorities. Being forced to march nearly in single file at some stages made it difficult to count the number of marchers. Based on how many eventually arrived at Suvorva Square, they exceeded two thousand, and there were roughly three thousand attending the meeting in the square. Speakers represented the United Civil Front, Yabloko, Republican Party of Russia, and many other groups.

At the meeting, Garry Kasparov criticized the plans for ‘Gazprom City,’ the new headquarters for the state energy goliath which include a massive tower that will dominate the historic St. Petersburg skyline. Kasparov called it “a symbol of the thieves in Putin’s regime.” Former Putin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov said that the difference in police behavior indicated that things are changing. “The choice today,” he said, “is not between political courses, but between civilization an barbarism.”

Kasparov pointed out the contradictions and hypocrisy of the Kremlin’s policy and statements about the Other Russia marches. “They tell us we can only have 500 people and warn us what will happen if there are more. Then the Kremlin propaganda tells Russia and the world that we are an insignificant minority, radicals with no support. The Kremlin tells everyone how popular Putin is, but they continue to actively suppress any attempt at dissent or criticism. They say no one wants to join us, but every time we organize they bring out thousands, even tens of thousands, of troops from all over. Clearly they don’t believe their own words and they are afraid our protests will gain momentum if they don’t keep increasing the pressure.”

Other Russia leaders Garry Kasparov and Eduard Limonov were briefly hassled en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg this morning, but were allowed to travel. (Unlike when they tried to attend the Samara rally.) This was not the case with Vanguard of Red Youth leader Sergei Udaltsov, who was detained at the Moscow airport and missed his flight.

A second march was scheduled for yesterday in Moscow. Other Russia reported:

The June 9 March of Dissent in St. Petersburg (1700 local time) was officially sanctioned by city officials, but only in the pedestrian pathways and with a maximum of 500 people. These restrictions, which seem impossible for organizers to manage, leaves the door open for police involvement. Far more than 500 people are expected, despite the illegal confiscation of 150,000 copies of the Other Russia newspaper by the authorities. No charges were made, no one will admit they were taken; they were simply stolen. Other news from St. Petersburg is that Vasily Yakemenko and his Kremlin-sponsored Nashi thugs have arrived in town, no doubt to begin their usual provocation and harassment of Other Russia marchers. The situation around the June 11 Moscow March of Dissent (1600 local time) is even worse. The authorities sanctioned only a single public meeting from our application for a meeting, march, and concluding rally. The march was not approved and the bid for the second meeting was simply ignored. Officially, only a meeting of 500 people in Pushkin Square has been approved. They called us (nothing in writing) and said they could help us have a rally in another district, but we would have to submit another bid. Yesterday they responded to our letter of complaint, saying they had offered an alternative route, which is a lie. They said that since we had declined that (nonexistent) offer, they would only approve the meeting for 500 at Pushkin Square. Standing firm with our rights under the Russian constitution, we will march regardless.

Here is OR’s report on the second demonstration in Moscow:

Nearly 2000 people came out to the Other Russia rally in Pushkin Square in Moscow today. They listened to human rights and political leaders from across the broad ideological spectrum of the Other Russia pro-democracy coalition. They included Alexei Navalny of Yabloko, Garry Kasparov of the United Civil Front, Eduard Limonov of the now-banned National Bolsheviks, and Sergei Udaltsov of the Vanguard of Red Youth. En route to the rally Udaltsov was picked up by police in the subway and taken to the police station. At the rally he said that “the Other Russia won today because in the police station the officials said they supported us and released me!” (Perhaps this is the reason the regime is careful to bring in thousands of more hardened troops from the regions.)

Kasparov (right) pointed skyward and said, “This is the ninth time we have marched and always under a shining sun. Even nature wants us to win!” Navalny said, “We are with you, whatever our differences, we must be united. How can it be that Russian citizens are treated like wild animals and aren’t allowed to travel freely to another city to participate in an event?” Eduard Limonov: “The authorities have not been able to intimidate us out of existence. We continue to hold up our heads proudly and to speak openly in dissent.” Oleg Kozlovsky: “Each of us alone could not achieve anything, but together we can. This is our country!” Yuri Chervinchuk referred to Putin’s regime as “Pinochetism” and that it would collapse as do all dictatorships.

A massive police presence locked down the square and prevented anyone from attempting to begin the march organizers had hoped for, despite not receiving approval from the city authorities. (”Only” 1000 were seen in the square, but the side streets all around the plaza were full of troops ready for action if we attempted to leave.) They also prevented anyone from joining the rally after the event had begun. According to the law, approval for a march is not required, only notification, but they declared our planned march illegal regardless. According to official sources, there were 720 police officers, not counting the many soldiers brought in. We counted at least 20 trucks belonging to the National Guard of North Ossetia as well as buses from six or seven regions.

Notes on the Upcoming Moscow Protest

A reader in contact with the Oborona opposition group reports that, not surprisingly, the proposed mid-April protest march in Moscow (on the main Pushkinskaya Square) by the “Other Russia” coalition has been banned by the Kremlin. The reader reports:

According to the authorities, a request for a different action planned for the same place and the same time was submitted “a minute before” the organizers of the march submitted theirs. Of course, the organizer of the “strike breaker” action was United Russia’s Young Guard. However, Other Russia’s activists were at that place for the whole morning and they saw no other people submitting their requests. Nor did the TV journalists who filmed the process of submitting the request for the march. So it seems that the request is fake. The administration suggests that the march should take place near V.V.C. (VDNKh) far from city center instead of Pushkinskaya square. The organizers will surely reject this proposal.

The reader also offers the following comments from Oborona about the protest, following up on the Nizhny Novgorod and St. Petersburg events recent documented on LR (a second march in St. Petersburg may occur in mid-April as well):

A statement about the march was submitted to the Moscow administration on Friday – the earliest day allowed for this. Legally, we don’t need to get any permissions nor does the government have a right to ban a rally (if the statement was prepared and submitted correctly).

However, some Moscow officials have already claimed that they are not going to “let Nizhny Novgorod events happen in Moscow”. It means that they will probably try to ban the march, even illegally. Anyway, we’ll see it in a few days, I suppose.

The authorities are trying to prevent the march as usual: stickers inviting people to the march are removed, fake stickers have been printed and are distributed instead. These fake ones are made in the same colors and fonts but they say,” Russia is eternal and non-dividable. There isn’t and won’t be the ‘Other Russia’”.

According to the media Moscowadministration has even arranged a gay parade for 14 April and it will probably have the same route as the march. If this information is true, we’ll have to expect lots of LGBT people (fake or real) coming to the march and showing off. So the authorities will try to pretent that the march is connected with the LGBT movements. Ironically, just a year ago Moscow mayor Luzhkov claimed there would never be a gay parade in Moscow but now he decided ‘the discontent’ a bigger evil.

The United Russia’s youth union (Young Guard – Molodaya Gvardia) plans its own rally in for 14 April (but in a different place) and they claim they’ll bring 15,000 people there. They invite people in online forums for 200 roubles (approx. $7).

On 31 March there was a Communist rally in Moscow. It was quite small but lots of riot police was brought in and we saw a new anti-riot vehicle. It looks like a general repetition before the march.

There is going to be an Imperial March on 8 April. It is organized by a pro-Kremlin right-wing organization Eurasian Youth Union (ESM) and it’s directed against the “orangist opposition” and the West. Even United Russia’s youth union (Young Guard – Molodaya Gvardia) is going to join.

The reader offers some additional observations:

1. President’s Administration approaches all the parties to sign an “anti-extremist” agreement. It says that the parties will not take part in any “extremist” activities nor will they support “extremists” at the elections. The exact text of the statement is kept secret, even from those who are going to sign it. United Russia (Spravedlivaya Rossia) and Yabloko have already agreed to sign it.

2. Not directly connected with the march but also an interesting event. The SPS federal board has effectively dismissed party’s Moscow branch and suspended its board. This happened because Moscow was an opposition enclave in SPS, had too anti-Putin position and even decided to join the march (despite the federal party’s decision to ignore it). So it looks like the SPS is finally becoming a pro-Putin party.

3. There are rumors that some officials from Putin’s Administration offered $50,000 to an LGBT activist for organizing a gay parade during the March of Discontent.

The Moscow Times reports:

The Other Russia, a coalition of political opposition groups, applied Friday for a permit to hold a large-scale march in central Moscow on April 14. The so-called Dissenters’ March will take place with or without a permit from City Hall, organizers said. “We have a constitutional right to hold peaceful demonstrations,” said Alexander Averin, spokesman for the unregistered National Bolshevik Party, who submitted the application.

City officials promised a decision by Wednesday, Averin said. The Other Russia has also applied for a permit to hold a march in St. Petersburg on April 15. Police dispersed similar marches last month in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Last December, some 2,500 activists from The Other Russia descended on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad, where they were surrounded by 8,500 riot police officers. “It is obvious that as the authorities take a harder line, the chances increase that the power vertical will simply collapse,” former chess champion turned opposition leader Garry Kasparov told reporters Friday.

Kasparov heads the United Civil Front, which is joined in The Other Russia by writer Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s Popular Democratic Union. Organizers say the march will proceed down Tverskaya Ulitsa to Teatralnaya Ploshchad. They expect up to 5,000 people to attend. Nikolai Kulikov, the city’s point man on security, said the needs of drivers would be factored into the decision, adding that drivers “aren’t likely to take kindly to street closures in the city center on a weekend,” Kommersant reported Friday. Kulikov’s secretary referred all questions to Sergei Tsoi, spokesman for Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Tsoi was unavailable for comment Friday. In addition to a large police presence, organizers of the April 14 march are expecting to clash with a handful of nationalist Russian Orthodox Church groups, which have threatened the marchers. “If we aren’t scared of thousands of OMON [riot police], then why should we be scared of these groups?” Averin said. As well as flags with anti-Putin slogans, some of the demonstrators will be brandishing the black, yellow and white imperial flag, a powerful nationalist symbol. Yegor Ovchinnikov, co-director of Georgiyevtsy!, a nationalist Orthodox youth group, threatened retaliation against anyone carrying the flag during the march. “If participants of the march attack us, we will defend ourselves,” he told Kommersant. “And if they raise the imperial flag, we will consider that to be an attack,” “Ovchinnikov’s words do not scare us,” Averin said.

Pavel Zarifullin, a leader of the EuroAsian Youth Union, which calls for the return of imperial rule and emphasizes the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, said he was joining with other youth organizations to defy the dissenters. “The Other Russia says it wants ‘freedom against,’” Zarifullin said. “We want ‘freedom for.’”


Valiant Petersburgers Stand and Fight the Power! URA PITER!!


The Moscow Times reports that Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Kasyanov drew at least 3,000 protesters (perhaps twice that number) to the streets of St. Petersburg over the weekend to fight the insidious power that is seeking to destroy Russia. They also drew hoards of Kremlin stormtroopers with clubs and teargas. We must do all we can to support this valiant last-gasp struggle for democracy and freedom in Russia!

Truncheon-wielding police Saturday violently dispersed an unauthorized opposition rally in St. Petersburg, rounding up and beating dozens of activists and detaining several organizers.

Despite the detentions, opposition figures praised the so-called March of Those Who Disagree by members of liberal and leftist groups as a major success, saying the event attracted several thousand people despite alleged intimidation from the authorities — an unusually high turnout for the country’s beleaguered and often fractious opposition.

More than 3,000 activists, according to Associated Press estimates, chanted “Shame!” as they marched down the city’s main avenue to protest what they said was the government’s retreat from democracy under President Vladimir Putin. Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion who helped organize the event, said on Ekho Moskvy radio that the participants numbered up to 6,000.

City authorities had banned the march, granting permission only to hold a rally in a location far from the city center. But the activists defied the ban and marched toward and then down Nevsky Prospekt, blocking traffic there.

Riot police detained and clubbed dozens of protesters in an attempt to stop the march and disperse the activists, but the demonstrators broke through the cordons, marched toward the center and rallied for about 40 minutes until police moved in again, detaining scores of others.

Eduard Limonov, head of the unregistered National Bolshevik Party, and independent city legislator Sergei Gulyayev were among the organizers detained.

Police beat protesters with truncheons and dragged them into detention buses. Several activists also attacked a law enforcement officer.

Interfax, citing police officials, reported that 113 activists were detained. Some of the detainees were later taken to a local court and were expected to face trial.

The activists held banners “Russia Without Putin,” “We Are for Justice” and “Take Elections Back.”

They called for the ousting of St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, a close ally of the president, accusing her of corruption and incompetence.

“The authorities are destroying … the constitutional structure, rights and freedoms,” said former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. “Unfortunately we are going through a very difficult time in our country, but we will continue to fight for our rights.”

The protest took place before March 11 elections to the Legislative Assembly, in which the Yabloko party, one of the country’s two main liberal parties, was kicked off the ballot for what the party said were groundless technical reasons.

The activists accused authorities of cracking down on the opposition, stifling freedom of speech and eating away at democratic institutions by abolishing direct elections of regional leaders and creating an obedient parliament.

To watch YouTubes on the protests click here or here. For more breathtaking photos click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Many Russian-language links and commentary here.

Anarchists on the March!

Over 100 anarchist protesters marched from Moscow’s Patriot Ponds park down Tversky and Golgol Streets in Moscow on February 23rd carrying signs that read “No war except class war!” and “Our Fatherland is all Humanity” (the two key words rhyme in Russian). Several were arrested.