Russia: Notes on the Post-Election Protest Rallies

Global Voices Online
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On Monday, riot police in Moscow arrested dozens of people who attempted to take part in an unauthorized post-election protest rally.

Marina Litvinovich (LJ user abstract2001, an aide to Garry Kasparov) was one of those who got detained. Here's part of what she wrote (RUS) following her release:

I'm home, yes.

Briefly: my arm is bruised, my glasses broken, I was upside down when they threw me into the riot police bus, [hit] my head on the stairs a bit. Not the best way to enter a bus.

Inside my bus [...] there were mainly those who got detained at McDonald's. Riot police burst into [the McDonald's] and snatched people out. They seized those who [had nothing to do with the rally], too. We had two underaged [schoolkids]. Also, God forgive me, there were two [members of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi] on our bus. Nice kids, who quickly enough [received a political orientation] from other detainees ;) Well, and the situation [was as good as any political orientation], too... [...]

Sergei Davidis (LJ user blacky_sergei) wrote this (RUS) about the election and the Moscow rally:


The election has made me sad somehow. Not because of Medvedev's victory - it was predictable. But because of the boldness and disrespect for law, which was evident in Moscow, for example. Shameless [falsifications], mass voting by dead souls, attempts to chase away and bribe the observers, refusal to accept complaints... followed by bold statements that there had been no complaints... All this with no real need for all this...

There are no rules that these jerks are prepared to respect, and it makes me feel helpless.

And then there's also the Dissenters' March today. It wasn't enough that these jerks hadn't approved it in a timely and lawful manner, it wasn't enough that they packed the whole neighborhood with cops. It wasn't enough that they were grabbing anyone who tried to chant or attracted too much media attention. But they were also seizing people who committed no violations whatsoever. Mikhail Kriger [LJ user kitaychonok_li was detained around 4:20 PM with no explanations given to him; he obeyed the police, as usual, even though their demands were unlawful. And in the evening, it became known that he was being accused of [resisting the police] and they wanted to subject him to administrative arrest. Since the cops were purposefully searching for him both at the protesters' gathering place and inside the buses carrying those already detained, it appears that they chose to punish him for an overly active position. He, for example, was one of those who initiated and took part in the single-person rallies in support of [Vasily Alexanyan], and then in support of [Natalya Morar].

And [LJ user dmitryhorse], along with other [members of AKM, the Vanguard of the Red Youth movement], was detained at the Chistyye Prudy McDonald's around 4:45 PM. In the protocol they wrote that he was marching along Chistoprudny Boulevard at 5:30 PM...

And there's practically no doubt that the courts would stamp these decisions, ignoring the witnesses' accounts... [...]

LJ user ilugru described (RUS) a march of his own - a one-person protest rally of sorts:

I left work earlier, but still too late to really take part in the event - by 5:50 PM they had detained nearly everyone they could detain, there was a hellish crowd of cops by Turgenevskaya [subway station], the remnants of the protesters and a crowd of journalists. I didn't encounter anyone I knew and decided to carry out a tiny individual march. Good thing [The New Times, a Russian-language weekly] had made a really good pre-election issue, which consisted mainly of pages full of slogans. I opened the page with the words "Vote or not, [you'll still get a male reproductive organ]..." and walked along Myasnitskaya St. towards Lubyanka, holding it close to me. I didn't run into riot police along the way, [regular] cops were looking intensely [at me], some were making steps towards me, but no one [really got me]. At the square near the Solovetsky Stone [Lubyanka], I saw a really amusing scene - hordes of cops were guarding all entrances to the square, which was occupied by six (!) people gloomily waving flags of the [pro-Kremlin Young Russia youth movement]. [...] I would give a lot to listen to the thoughts of the big riot police guys who had to stand along the perimeter, guarding these clowns.

In St. Petersburg, the post-election protest rally was an authorized one - and it actually did take place. One of the protesters, LJ user aneta_spb, wrote this (RUS) on her blog:

It was good. But not much. It's clear that in the nearest future we will not see tens of thousands of protesters. [...]


Links to some photos and a video from the Moscow and St. Petersburg rallies are in these earlier Global Voices posts: here, here, and here.

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