MOSCOW, April 2 (Itar-Tass) — Two protest actions were held in Moscow on Saturday. A rally in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square, which discussed a would-be March of Millions, turned out to be surprisingly quiet. In Triumfalnaya Square, police detained about 60 protesters who came out in support of the Russian Constitution’s article 31 (the freedom of assembly). On Sunday, activists of the For Fair Elections movement tried to stage a White Square protest action in Moscow’s Red Square, but were not let there by police.
The action in Pushkinskaya Square was held in a very peaceful way, although it was not sanctioned by the city authorities, writes the Moskovsky Komsomolets. In Triumfalnaya Square, however, police had to interfere to disperse the rally. According to a police spokesman, a criminal case might be opened against one of the protesters who lit a flare and tossed it towards the crowd.
On Sunday, the Kommersant writes, the For Fair Elections movement tried to stage a White Square action. Activists planned to stroll across the downtown Red Square with white ribbons pinned to their cloths. Such ribbons have become a symbol of the opposition. The city’s authorities failed to find legal pretext to ban the action, so they simply installed police cordons not to let anyone access the place. As a result, police detained about 60 people, only those “who sought to break into the territory temporarily closed by the Federal Guard Service,” as they put it.
On Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to meet with leaders of unregistered parties, writes the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper. The head of state is expected to sign a new law on political parties. Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Left Front, Sergei Udaltsov told a rally in Pushkinskaya Square on Saturday that the opposition planned to focus on two key slogans, namely For Fair Legitimate Power, and For Russia without Putin.
The opposition slogans calling for fair elections are gradually giving way to anti-Putin rhetoric, the newspaper notes. It was clearly seen at the Saturday opposition rally in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square, which was organized a member of the organizational committee of the For Fair Elections movement, Sergei Udaltsov. He put for voting the idea that all subsequent actions should be held under such slogans as For Fair Legitimate Power, and For Russia without Putin.
According to Alexei Makarkin, a deputy director of the Centre for Political Technologies, the slogans Russia without Putin and For Fair Elections are quire coherent, since one is impossible without the other, as the opposition thinks. Anti-Putin slogans are very much likely to push away from the radical opposition those who are not inclined to share such slogans, said Alexei Grazhdankin, a deputy director of the Levada Centre polling agency. According Levada Centre polls, a mere 19 percent of Russian share the idea of the slogan Russia without Putin, while as many as 67 percent of Russians do not support it. So, as Igor Bunin, the director of the Central for Political Technologies, said, the radical opposition will hardly be able to draw many people to their anti-Putin action on May 6.