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Moscow authorities meet opposition half-way

January 27, 2012, 12:36 UTC+3

The Moscow authorities and the opposition have reached agreement on the route of the February 4 march

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MOSCOW, January 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The Moscow authorities and the opposition have reached agreement on the route of the February 4 march, in which some 50,000 people are expected to take part. The protest action will take place in the central part of Moscow. The protesters will march by the Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, to the Oktyabrskaya metro station, after which a rally will be held in the Bolotny Square. The route will be 1.5 kilometers long. Opposition leaders explain their victory over the mayor’s office by the activity of the people, primarily in the Internet.

Eugenia Chirikova, leader of the movement in defense of the Khimki forest, believes that the mayor’s office made that decision because of the activity of Muscovites, who expressed the desire in Facebook to take part in the action irrespective of whether its route is coordinated or not, The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

According to the newspaper, this concession of the Moscow authorities could be among the last ones, because several days ago Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin appointed Alexei Mayorov to the post of head of the regional security department of the city. Sources of The Nezavisimaya Gazeta report that Mayorov is not given to compromises, unlike his predecessor.

The newspaper points to the fact that supporters of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will also hold rallies on February 4 simultaneously with his opponents, and not only in Moscow, but also in other cities.

The organizing committee of the march “for honest elections” does not regard the parallel action as a problem for themselves, The Novye Izvestia writes. According to Sergey Parkhomenko, a journalist, who is one of the organizers of the march, some 60,000 to 70,000 dissenters will march by the streets of Moscow on February 4, even in cold weather.

Commenting on the “sudden” coordination of the route of the opposition march, The Vedomosti writes that it is clear why the authorities are avoiding so far the dispersing of demonstrations and the use of force in general. First, there is no need for further heightening of tension. Second, which is especially important, Putin is not indifferent to what the West says about him. One big fight will be reason enough to describe him as a tyrant. This would be detrimental to his prestige and bad for the economy.

Initially it was decided that the march would be held in three or four columns, The Kommersant writes. The largest will be made up of ordinary non-party people. It will be followed by the columns of Liberals and supporters of left-wing parties and movements. Members of nationalistic organizations will probably march by the Bolshaya Yakimanka Street separately from others. Members of the organizing committee stress that the division will be relative and that everybody will be able to decide with what column to march.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets reports that members of the organizing committee discussed the automobile rally “for honest elections,” due to be held next Sunday by the Sadovy Ring. They expressed the desire to take part in it. Aside from it, another protest action will take place before the February 4 march: one-man pickets will be held outside all the metro stations. Two days before the march, activists will spread leaflet urging people to take part in the march.




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