MOSCOW, January 25 (Itar-Tass) — Parties and organizations representing political opposition have received an official refusal from Moscow City’s mayoralty, which they turned to for a permission to hold a march in the downtown area February 4.
A scanned copy of the document where the mayoralty’s department for regional security says it is impossible to authorize the march has been uploaded in the Twitter.
The document says the mayoralty has considered the opposition’s request to hold a march starting from Kaluzhskaya Square near the famous Gorky Park, embracing a part of the Garden Ring and the Boulevard Ring streets and ending on Manezhnaya Square right opposite the northern wall of the Kremlin.
“Authorization of a public march along the route indicated in the /opposition parties’/ request will require a blocking of traffic in the downtown area and will impede the normal operations of essential life support and public utility systems,” the document says. “It will create problems for the routine activity of economic entities, block automobile transport, and infringe on the rights and interests of private individuals uninvolved in the action.”
One more reason for rejecting the request, according to the department officials, is that Manezhnaya Square adjoins the territory of the Moscow Kremlin historical and cultural preserve, which is also the official residence of Russia’s President, and any public manifestations in such places are prohibited by law.
In the light of it, the department proposes the opposition to relocate the envisioned action to a somewhat different part of the city. It has put forward two possible options, both of them in the area of the Luzhniki sports compound /former Vladimir Lenin Central Stadium/.
Moscow City’s deputy mayor Alexander Gorbenko said in an explanation for the decision to turn down the opposition’s request that blocking the traffic on the Garden Ring streets on a Saturday afternoon “is something so unrealistic that even to discuss it was quite problematic.”
“The organizers of the action knew this, as we had a meeting with them and we explained the situation to them,” he said. “It looked like they had heeded us and we thought they wouldn’t ask for an option that’s simply impossible to fulfill.”
“And yet television shows us that the oppositionists have kind of thrown a challenge to us,” Gorbenko said. “It looks like they’ve thrown a challenge to us and they tell us, well, that’s your
problem, and so take the anxious seat.”
“We are anxious, indeed, and we call on the organizers to summon their sense of reason, because a march of 50,000 or so people along the Garden Ring on Saturday is something next to impossible, because it’s impossible in this case to guarantee security and to minimize inconveniences at the same time,” Gorbenko told the Echo of Moscow radio.
He recalled that the organizers will be held responsible for holding an unauthorized public action.
The opposition filed a request for holding the march with the mayoralty January 20. On the same day, officials offered options of the route to them.
The sides had a meeting in the building of the mayoralty January 24 but failed to reach consensus.