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A rally in support of the presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, which is to counterbalance the march “For honest elections,” is being organized with the help of compulsion measures, some mass media organs report.
A campaign recruiting people to participate in the rally supporting Putin started in Moscow, Kommersant writes. It is to be held on February 4 simultaneously with the opposition march. Teachers and workers of some state-owned enterprises complain that they are forced to come to the pro-Kremlin rally, while the Moscow authorities and trade unions officially deny any pressure exerted on the people.
The rally of Putin‘s supporters is to be held on the Poklonny Hill on February 4. Formally it is being organized by the Patriots of Russia Party. The organizers make no secret of the fact that it will be a response to the opposition march “For honest elections”. Organizations, integrated in the All-Russia Popular Front, are taking part in preparations for the rally.
Representatives of the Moscow Education Department say that they did not give any instructions to schoolmasters concerning the participation of their staff members in the action. “These are nothing but rumors. Our department is not interested in political actions. We are working in a different sphere,” its press secretary Alexander Gavrilov told Kommersant.
Aside from teachers, other workers of budget-financed sectors also complain that they are being pressured to secure their participation in the rally, Kommersant continues. Workers of Moszhilniiproject report that its management circulated written invitations to the rally, promising to them a day-off in return. A worker of Gormost told the Dozhd (Rain) radio broadcasting station that no less than 130 out of 2,500 staff members of the enterprise should attend the rally in the Poklonny Hill. According to his information, they are to receive their advance wage there. In all cases the management of those enterprises emphatically refutes the reports.
The Union of Afghanistan Veterans, the Russian Union of Pensioners, the Congress of Russian Communities and the Patriots of Russia Party are going to hold their own rally on the Poklonny Hill on February 4 under the slogan “The things we do not want to lose,” the pro-government Rossiiskaya Gazeta reports.
“I guarantee that our Afghanistan veterans will come to the rally,” MP Franz Klintsevich, head of the Union of Afghanistan Veterans, told the newspaper. “No administrative resources will be used, but I am sure that many of them will come. They will all be informed of the planned rally.” He made it clear that the organizers of the rally have not set themselves the task of creating some counterbalance to the opposition in connection with the coming elections.
According to Rossiiskaya Gazeta, it turned out that the support for presidential candidate Putin is not the only purpose of the rally, although all its organizers are members of the Popular Front. Members of the staff of the Popular Front did not confirm their intention to take part in the Poklonny Hill rally.
Sergey Neverov, secretary of the presidium of the General Council of the United Russia Party, said that their party did not plan or prepare any rallies to be held in the near future.
Nadezhda Koreneyeva, deputy leader of the Patriots of Russia Party, told the newspaper that the organizers of the rally expect some 15,000 to 20,000 people to take part in it. Initially they intended to march from the monument to the defenders of Moscow, near the Dorogomilovsky Outpost, to the Poklonny Hill, but the Moscow authorities did not give their consent to it.
A representative of Putin’s electoral team told RBK Daily that they have nothing to do with the pressure exerted on Moscow teachers. The mayor’s office also denies its participation in the preparation of the rally.