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Leaders of civil protest choose weekly format

March 21, 2012, 13:16 UTC+3

The meetings will not have an official status of an action For Honest Elections

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MOSCOW, March 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s leaders of civil protest have chosen a format, where they would be discussing the current situation at weekly pickets in Pushkin Square. After the rally in Novy Arbat, the Kremlin is not taking this movement seriously, the Vedomosti states.

It is necessary to urgently form up a positive agenda – or the number of rallies will continue declining, said speakers at the rally in Novy Arbat on March 10, the newspaper writes. Before the rally, leaders of the informal movement For Honest Elections discussed regularly plans for actions during their public meetings – broadcasts were available on the Internet. Neither Boris Nemtsov, nor Sergei Udaltsov of the Left Front would say when a next meeting is due. There will be regular meetings in a different format, Udaltsov promised.

Activists will have weekly meetings on Saturdays at 14:00 in Pushkin Square of Moscow, and next meeting is due on March 24. The idea was offered by Udaltsov. The meetings will not have an official status of an action For Honest Elections. Those would be meetings with deputies of the State Duma – this is how the Saturday events will be positioned. This format is convenient, as it does not require notification of the authorities. During these meetings, people will be discussing ideas of the rallies and other variants of protests, Udaltsov said. The meetings will attract up to several hundred participants, he added.

Not all activists of the committee For Honest Elections support the idea of rallies, involving not that many participants, as during rallies in Bolotnaya Square or Sakharov Avenue. Collecting several hundred participants without having clear agendas is not a way to pressure the power, Sergei Davidis of Solidarnost said.

The slump of rally activity and the formal lack of an action plan disappoint romantic participants, Dmitry Oreshkin of the League of Voters said. The demand to give a clear action plan to the street is clear, he continued, but it will not be possible to offer one that quickly: the opposition does not have a leader, or a political bureau, which could put together a “road map”, many activists do not have any political ambitions whatever – they came out to the streets under a clear civil protest.

Another major action of the movement For Honest Elections – the People’s March – is due on May 6, on the eve of the inauguration of Vladimir Putin. Organizers consider another mass event – a Festival of Freedom – on May 1, Nemtsov said.

Actions of the opposition are declining, they are not gathering full squares, a political scientist close to the Kremlin Dmitry Orlov said, and the expected adoption of the law on political parties will deprive the activists of a chance to accuse the power of lack of attention to the demands from the opposition.

The presidential administration has not been watching the non-system opposition after the rally in Novy Arbat, where it became clear the protesters would not be able to offer anything new, the newspaper reported the Kremlin’s official as saying.

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