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MOSCOW, June 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The civil protesting movement in Moscow begins to acquire new organizational types amid an ongoing confrontation between the off-system opposition and the authorities, which are not willing to enter into talks with the dissenters, preferring to show a tough attitude to the opposition. However, the second March of Millions, which the opposition staged in Moscow on June 12, passed peacefully and without any incidents despite high tensions during the preparations to the march.
The law on much higher fines for violations at rallies evoked major indignation. The law was approved very quickly to enter into force by this protest action. Meanwhile, the investigation into the criminal case over the disorders at the previous March of Millions on May 6 has intensified before the rally on June 12. The number of detainees reached 13 people. On Monday, June 11, the Russian Investigation Committee has made searches at the residence places of the most well-known representatives of the off-system opposition, namely Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin, Ksenia Sobchak, Sergei and Anastasia Udaltsovs and other activists.
The march of the Boulevard Ring with a rally on the Sakharov Avenue did not break a record number of participants, but was comparable with the number of participants at the last winter’s protest actions, the experts said. The opposing sides traditionally give different estimates to the number of participants in the protest action. If the police call 18,000-22,000 people, the opposition name 100,000-200,000 people. The media believe that the truth lies somewhere in between, proposing that 40,000-50,000 protesters came to the protest action. Meanwhile, it sounds quite hard to determine the exact number of protesters, because not all the marchers participated in the rally and vice versa.
Finally, the organizers and the authorities turned out to be satisfied with the protest action. Despite the predictions no clashes occurred with the OMON riot police contrary to the March of Millions on May 6. The head of the regional security department Alexei Mayorov, who is cited by the Kommersant daily, is convinced that repeated clashes with the OMON riot police could have been averted particularly thanks to the enacted law on higher fines. “By the way, this law cooled down the passions of the radicals and made the organizers of the rally control them tighter,” he believes.
Chairperson of the State Duma Security Committee from United Russia Irina Yarovaya did not agree with this supposition. “The law on rallies, which we enacted, affected very strongly the conduct of the protesters. In general, we were convinced that the law has a very emphatic protecting nature,” she said in the Vesti television program.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov praised the high level of arrangements for the March of Millions after all. “It can be stated that the event passed without any provocative acts. I know that the high level of the police work was reported, particularly by human rights activists. A correct, polite and benevolent work was reported,” he said. “Meanwhile, highly disciplined actions of those, who organized and participated in this protest action, were actually reported without any exceptions,” he noted.
Along with Moscow, the opposition actions passed in Kaliningrad, Orenburg, Barnaul, Ufa, Tyumen and other Russian cities on June 12. The number of participants in the protest actions did not exceed 300 people in any Russian city except for Moscow.
The participants in the rally on the Sakharov Avenue have taken the Manifest of Free Russia. The manifest includes such demands as the resignation of the Russian president, the enactment of a new law on parliamentary elections and new elections in the State Duma, the endorsement of a new Constitution, which will limit the presidential tenure by one term of six years or two terms of four years. The manifest holds that the protests launched a peaceful anti-criminal revolution. The diversification of methods is needed now: not only rallies and marches, but also strikes and actions of civil disobedience.
The coordination council will assume responsibility for various protest actions and the fulfilment of the manifest. The coordination council will be elected from representatives of various political and civil forces.
Along with traditional political appeals the street protesters should put forward social and economic appeals, organizer of the protest action Sergei Udaltsov stated at the rally.
Sociologist Alexander Bikbov, who is cited by the RBC daily, noted that those people, who have been participating in the rallies since December 2011, as well as new people were participating in the protest action on June 12. But an important problem for the movement remains the fears of people about an unclear future of the country, if the incumbent authorities were toppled.
“New political times should probably be dated from the second March of Millions,” the Vedomosti daily believes. “The civil movement began institutionalising, and the state authorities began to take the off-system opposition in earnest, but they did not find another dialogue mode, except for searches and interrogations yet,” the newspaper reported.
The policy of the authorities to the protesting movement is becoming more clear-cut and definite, member of the United Russia Supreme Council Dmitry Orlov, who is cited by the newspaper, believes. This tendency is confirmed by “the intentions to avert incidents and violence in the streets, the absolute acceptance to the actions, which are held under the law, the intentions to find those responsible for the May 6 disorders and for the radicalization of the protesting movement in general, as well as financial relations among radical leaders of the street protests,” he pointed out.
The state authorities take the leaders of the protesting movement as enemies that have connections with other countries, political expert Alexei Makarkin believes. There cannot be any dialogue with the enemy, the concessions ended in December. But the Russian state authorities are not ready to resort to Belarusian repressions. The authorities make searches on June 11 and show a polite attitude on June 12. “Such policy is consolidating the opposition even more, while the split between the radicals and moderate oppositionists has taken shape by May 6. Now the elected body, which will demand negotiations, was formed in the opposition,” Makarkin underlined.