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MOSCOW, May 21 (Itar-Tass) — The opposition camp has been migrating around Moscow for 14 days running. This time, the protesters have moved to the monument to poet Bulat Okudzhava in Stary Arbat Street. The police continue to detain protesters under various pretexts. According to experts, the authorities has shut the door for a possible dialogue with the stratum of Russian society that supports the dissenters. In the meantime, protest actions are being reported from other Russian cities.
The number of protesters usually goes down by midnight – people hurry to catch up with the last metro train, and only “real opposition” of about 80-100 people stays, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper writes. The police are keeping a keen eye of these activists. In the small hours each day, policemen take any disturbance or offence as a pretext to detain activists. They don’t arrest all, seizing a couple of dozens of protesters. The rest flee the scene to find another venue for a camp. It is the opposition’s new tactic to flee the scene in small groups to gather at another place specified in a Twitter message.
According to Alexei Makarkin, a deputy director general of the Centre for Political Technologies, after the May 6 developments, the authorities have stripped themselves of a possibility of dialogue with the opposition. “Now the interest to opposition camp is going down, because it has been constantly migrating and is showing signs of radicalization, and society does not support radicals. The opposition however is in no way frightened and is still there,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes him as saying. In his words, the authorities are only stymieing the problem rather than trying to solve it, while the opposition will seek to invent new forms of protest and a larger part of society is sympathizing with such actions. “In a bid to solve its tactical tasks the authorities are dispersing protest actions, this way averting at least a third of Russians,” he said.
The protest action has been positioned as an open-ended one since May 7, when it began at the Heroes of Plevna Monument in downtown Moscow, the Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. The opposition camp activists want to hold on till June 12, when the opposition plans to stage the second March of Millions action. The opposition has not yet filed an application for an authorization from the Moscow mayor’s office. They are considering two scenarios – a march along Tverskaya Street and a rally on Manezhanay Square, and a march from the Belorussky railway terminal to the Kremlin. It is not yet clear which of the two routes will be chosen by the For Fair Elections movement, and it is up to the opposition camp’s assembly to decide where to head for.
Having started on May 6, the lingering popular protest is not confined to Moscow’s Boulevard Ring, the Novye Izvestia stresses. Other cities are joining Moscow. A round-the-clock opposition camp has been there in St. Petersburg’s Isaakiyevskaya Square. Mass “strolls” in support of the March of Millions were held last week in the city of Saratov. In Nizhny Novgorod, opposition activists tried to get inside the city kremlin, usually open for general public. Having met with the closed gates they put a camp right in front of it.