MOSCOW, March 2 (Itar-Tass) — Tense four-day talks ended on Thursday between the organizers of the For Fair Elections rally and the Moscow Mayor’s Office over an opposition action on March 5, the next day after the presidential elections. They agreed that the protest action will be held on the Pushkinskaya Square, around which the traffic will be suspended, Moscow Deputy Mayor Alexander Gorbenko and oppositionists Sergei Udaltsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Sergei Parkhomenko said.
The traffic will be suspended on the lane in one direction, the stage will be placed on the steps of the Pushkinsky movie theatre, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily writes. Meanwhile, if there are many people, one lane will be suspended at first in the Tverskaya Street, then if necessary the whole section of the street next to the square will be suspended, Gorbenko noted. The organizers of the rally have different estimates over the number of demonstrators from 15,000 to 30,000 people. For the first time, the moving structure of the rally will make it possible for the law enforcement agencies to ensure security and comfort for participants in the rally at any case and to minimize the blocked traffic and inconveniencies for people.
The Novye Izvestia recalled that the opposition was earlier denied to hold a rally on the Lubyanka Square, proposing them to voice their protest in the places more remote from the Kremlin. The oppositionists refused and offered the Manezh Square as an alternative venue for the rally. The Mayor’s Office also rejected this idea, citing that the Manezh Square was already occupied by some other demonstrators on this day. The Moscow officials refused to say whom they meant in particular. A member of the organizing committee of the For Fair Elections movement and a journalist Sergei Parkhomenko disclosed the secret. He has made an entry in his blog that the Manezh Square was given to the pro-Kremlin Nashi movement on March 5.
The members of the organizing committee for the opposition rally have stayed in the queue at the Moscow Mayor’s Office since Monday, the Kommersant notes. The tensions were mounting at the meetings between the oppositionists and Gorbenko each day. For instance, on Thursday Udaltsov stated that in case of denial at the Mayor’s Office to authorize a rally on the Manezh Square and the Lubyanka Square “the organizing committee will revoke all its bids, relieving themselves from any responsibility” that thousands of people discontent with the results of the presidential elections will go out for massive protest actions in Moscow. According to a public opinion poll, which the organizing committee of the rally arranged in Facebook, more than 5,000 voters were ready to go out for unauthorized rallies on the Lubyanka Square.
The appeals to indefinite protest actions were made public in the social networks by the organizers of the rally under the slogan “We dismiss Putin on March 5”, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reports. The participants in the rally offer to join hands with each other on ‘the white ring’, but this time not on the Garden Ring Road, but at the Kremlin. The start of the action is scheduled at 22:00 on March 5, but the definite end is not expected, if the protesters are not dispersed by force or an unexpected coup d’etat is committed in the political life of the country.
The general director of the Centre of Political Technologies Igor Bunin, which is cited by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, noted that the nature of protest actions had changed, “The indignation over the results of the parliamentary elections gave way to the indignation over the system, which is destined to be unfair, a long time ago. The fairness of the elections is just the pretext. The protest actions are more and more targeted against Putin.” On the other side, the authorities cannot use force against the protesters, “It is impossible to use it against a mob of 30,000 people. This step will turn Russia in an outcast state. It is necessary to come to terms.”
May the Ukrainian scenario of the Orange revolution recur in Moscow? The situation is the other way round in Russia, Bunin elaborated, “The country does not have a candidate, for which we should go to the streets. We just do not accept the system. There are many protesters in Moscow, but without the chief, without their candidate for the presidential post the protesters cannot be mobilized for a tough protest.” In any case the authorities should show some flexibility, the expert noted, “Should you authorize a rally, it is illogical to ban another one.”
The current Russian opposition is a carnival, rather than a revolution, Bunin said, “The authorities should get rid of fears. The ban for the carnival leads to a revolution.”
The director of the Centre of Studies of the Post-Industrial Society Vladislav Inozemtsev has the opposite opinion. He is concerned over the development of the events according to the Belarusian scenario. In this case the authorities will fight with people, who are dissatisfied with them in particular, a source of the newspaper claimed, “The Belarusian scenario is not ruled out.” The forcible confrontation may result in the loss of the dialogue between the authorities and the society, Inozemtsev said with confidence, “This is a bad situation. If Putin has had the intentions to stabilize it, he would have held the elections in two rounds, and no one would oppose it.”