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MOSCOW, August 20 (Itar-Tass) — Opposition leaders gathered in Moscow their supporters to remember the August Coup d’Etat Attempt, when a group of members of the Soviet Union’s government attempted to take control of the country from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. They laid white flowers at the memorial stele to the defenders of democracy on the crossing of Novy Arbat and Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring) to remember not only three young people, who were killed during the failed Soviet coup – Ilya Krichevsky, Dmitry Komar and Vladimir Usov, but also to support the three members of the punk group Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in a penal colony found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. According to mass media, the action gathered around 1,000 people.
Opposition leaders joined for a sanctioned rally with the allowed limit of 500 members, the Komsomolskaya Pravda reported. The rally with flags of Yabloko, People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) and Solidarity gathered some 1,000. Left-wing parties and left-wing politician Ilya Ponomarev did not share democratic enthusiasm of their associates describing the 1991 Coup attempt as a catastrophe. However, activists of Sergei Udaltsov’s Left-Wing Front took part in the first part of the Sunday rally calling on their supporters to gather in front of the memorial stele to the defenders of democracy laying white flowers.
“If we do not come, all of us will become prisoners as Pussy Riot,” they wrote on their Facebook page “We were in Bolotnaya Square”, the Moskovsky Komsomolets reported. This action was not considered to be a rally, anyone, who wished, could lay flowers at the stele during the day.
At 15:00 Moscow time three opposition leaders – Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Mikhail Kasyanov – laid flowers at the memorial stele, the daily wrote. “We were naive to believe that if one wins a victory over the GKChP (the State Committee on the State of Emergency was a group of eight high-level officials within the Soviet government, the Communist party and the KGB who attempted a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev), freedom will come,” Nemtsov said recalling the 1991 event. “We were strongly mistaken!”