Protest in Russia: One of these Moscow Saturdays

Protest in Russia

Despite fears of arrests hundreds of Muscovites came to vigils. It was a quiet afternoon full of anger at three monuments.

Followers of the KP with banners and flags

They too were on their way: Communist Party supporters wave flags of the party and carry a banner during the protest in Moscow Photo: ap

MOSCOW taz | Moscow has turned into a boulevard since Mayor Sobyanin's city revolution plans. With wide, bright sidewalks, with green avenues. So you stroll. Now you walk through the lush downtown – as a sign of dissatisfaction. Demonstrating as a sign of dissatisfaction is not acceptable to the Kremlin. People practice other forms of peaceful protest. Sometimes they call it political walks, sometimes they stand alone, holding up posters. Such vigils do not have to be approved according to the Russian constitution.

This Saturday was such a "Piket" day, as the Russians say. Single demonstrations at three monuments in the city center, closely watched by the police. After the approved demo last Saturday with just under 60,000 people and the unauthorized two and three weeks ago, when the special forces had cracked down and arrested several hundred protesters, the police are holding back this time.

A respite in the Moscow uprising, which is no longer about the registration of opposition candidates for the election of the Moscow City Duma on 8 September.

In front of the monument to Vladimir Vysotsky, arguably the greatest Soviet singer-songwriter, next to the peach-colored building of the Moscow City Parliament, the gathering of people this afternoon recalls the earlier Strategy 31 movement – protests between 2009 and 2011 on the 31st of each month and recalled Article 31 of the Russian Constitution: freedom of assembly.

People stand close to each other, talking quietly, surrounded by numerous journalists from the city. Some eat ice cream, others take a selfie with the representative of the Russian Human Rights Council Nikolai Swanidze or the former presidential candidate Grigori Jawlinski of the liberal "Yabloko" party. A few blocks away, Russian Communists called for free elections. Nearly 4,000 people come.

"Take off your masks"

Meanwhile, the so-called non-system opposition meets at the three monuments. Gradually, individual posters are holding high. "Time for change" says it or "Take off your masks". Masks that have recently been worn by Moscow special police when they break up unauthorized protests in the city. When they beat people demonstrating peacefully with their truncheons, they drag them into prisoners.

They have become nameless and faceless symbols of the Russian state, an anonymous power that does not hear what people have to say.

What Olga has to say to her. Olga, in his mid-50s, has been involved in protest actions since the 2000s. Or Konstantin, the pupil who first discovered politics a year ago. "It can not go on like that," both say, as different as they are. Both want to remain anonymous. "One no longer knows what can be accused of suddenly," says Olga, who is not Olga. "It's my duty to go out here, despite the risk of getting a baton on the head. We have to make every politician feel personally responsible to his constituents, "she says.

Konstantin, who was already in trouble with the police and the headmaster because of his activism, no longer wants to support the "Do not mix" attitude. "I want to live as a free person in Russia. I do not want to leave here, I want to change my country, so that a life in dignity is possible. "In the past Saturdays, he" walked "in the city, has watched the arrests, the proceedings for" mass riots "pursued. "Our state is just outrageous."

The election of the Moscow City Duma, an institution that has little political weight, has become an outlet for their fight, so many say at the Wyssozki Monument, against systematic political repression in the country. The student Konstantin is disappointed. "The political apathy of many is unbearable. We have to become more, much more, then maybe something will change here. "Next Saturday he wants to" walk "again, on the sixth Saturday in a row.

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