On Saturday, the dissenters staged a protest action against the results of presidential and parliamentary elections in Moscow. The rally was authorized with the authorities for 50,000 participants, but, according to the police, only 10,000 people came for the rally. The action plan, which was awaited from the opposition for three months, was not offered after all.
The organizers of the rally summed up the results of the election campaigns and pledged that they will seek for political and judicial reforms to be conducted, the Novye Izvestia reports. The speakers voiced the slogans, the protesters were carrying the posters and the car drivers were giving beeps. No one understood what to do next. The newspaper reported that up to 20,000 people gathered for a rally in Novy Arbat Street on Saturday.
The For Fair Elections rallies, which became regular in the Russian capital, began to change their format, the RBC daily writes. The Saturday rally was distinguished with new speakers, who were mainly observers, rather than politicians and the leaders of the movements. Meanwhile, this factor does not help to make the rallies as large-scale as the winter rallies on the Bolotnaya Square and the Sakharov Avenue. Even according to the estimates of the organizers, there were two times fewer people in Novy Arbat Street than the number agreed with the authorities. Grigory Yavlinsky said already after the rally that he is not afraid of growing rumours that the protest moods are subsiding in the society. The discontent among people that already emerged “will take other shapes,” he said.
One of these actions may become a march of a million of honest people, which the Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov offered to hold on May 1, a week before Putin’s inauguration. The deputy head of the A Just Russia faction in the State Duma Gennady Gudkov confirmed that the opposition will stake on the march. Udaltsov’s another initiative will be supported by fewer protesters. He called the Pushkin Square as a symbol of all latest rallies and offered to meet on the square as frequently as possible with the authorization or without it by the Moscow Mayor’s Office.
The BBC correspondents conducted a public opinion poll among the participants in the rally and asked why the protesters became fewer and what they expect from the opposition leaders, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta notes. The respondents noted a split in the opposition and the fact that people do not see the results of the opposition actions. “There is no clear idea what to do next and the organizers of the rallies did not voice it, therefore, fewer people came to the rally, and it is unclear why to come for rallies at all,” a participant in the rally said. Several pollsters also noted that they would like to hear some concrete proposals and are disappointed that the slogans are not put in practice.