MOSCOW, September 15 (Itar-Tass) — Participants in an opposition rally in Moscow on Saturday, September 15, adopted a resolution that contains not only political but also social demands.
“A new term of [Vladimir] Putin’s presidency has been marked by political repressions, pressure on civil society and anti-social policy. None of the demands put forth at the previous rallies has been satisfied. All of Putin’s actions aim to usurp power. We strongly disagree with that and will continue our struggle using all available peaceful means,” the resolution said.
It demands “resignation of the illegitimate authorities”, an immediate release of political prisoners, including those arrested for riots in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow earlier late last year and early this year, political reforms, and early parliamentary and presidential elections.
The resolution also contains social demands. It says that “the interim government should freeze housing and utility sector tariffs until their growth is justified, stop ruining the system of education, healthcare, science and pension system, increase their funding, stop financing the bureaucracy and guarantee the freedom of professional activities and the right to organise strikes”.
Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov said elections to the opposition coordination council would be held on October 20-21 and suggested holding the next opposition rally in Moscow on October 20 “in order to vote in parallel in the Internet and in the street. And today’s assembly is going on and we will not leave”, he said.
He urged the crowd to stay on. Udaltsov, wearing navy blue jeans, a black coat and sunglasses, said his outfit symbolised his wrath and said his sunglasses were a new symbol of opposition events because a white ribbon is a good symbol and suggested that everybody wear sunglasses.
“I can no longer be kind. I am very angry today. And this is my ‘black mark’. Let them shiver from horror when they see a sea of wrath,” he said.
“I think we should slowly take over our streets and stay here as long as we can. Moscow is ours today, the city is ours, the country is ours as more than 50 cities have joined us. This is indeed a national protest and we must not leave the streets,” he said.
“We are fighting to freedom, equality and human dignity which cannot be put in the pocket. But we must take them as something concrete. We cannot live without freedom and human dignity and we will never give them up. This is our personal struggle to go to rallies as we go to work,” Alexei Navalny said.
MP Ilya Ponomarev called for social reforms and said that a wave of strikes is beginning in Russia.
His was echoed by Moscow City Duma Deputy Andrei Klychkov of the Communist Party who called for organising a protest against growing housing and utility sector tariffs on September 22.
“We will demand that and utility sector tariffs be put on hold because otherwise it’s theft. Our second demand is the right to organise strikes and engage freely in trade union activities,” Boris Nemtsov said. “We demand that funding for education and healthcare be increased dramatically, or will have no future.”
“Our goal is very clear: to send [the government away] peacefully, calmly and without violence. For that we must bring together not 10 or 100 but a million people,” Nemtsov said.
He also demanded that the president’s powers be limited.
“The authorities steer the course of repressions, carry out searches, open criminal cases concocted out of thin air, they organise surveillance and tapping and try to compromise [us] through mercenary press,” Gennady Gudkov of the Just Russia party, who was stripped of his MP status on Friday, September 14, said.
“We will not allow our country to be turned into GULAG. We must be united and must not hurt each other even if our views differ,” he said.
He stressed the need to continue protests which in his opinion will force the authorities “to make serious concessions”.
“We give the authorities some time to come to their senses, but if they ignore the opinion of the people we will reply to that, but they will not like our reply,” Gudkov said.