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Moscow has officially formed a counterpart to the London Hyde Park. The law entered into force. It permits to hold political actions with up to 2,000 people to attend them at the special assigned venues without any agreement with the Moscow authorities.
On January 7, the law entered into force. The law permits to hold massive actions in the special assigned venues (in the Hyde Parks) without any preliminary notification of the authorities, the Vedomosti daily recalled. On December 26, the Moscow City Duma approved the law, which introduces amendments in the Moscow law on rallies.
The law introduced the term “special assigned venues”, at which public actions can be held without any notification of the authorities that is needed now to stage actions in Moscow. For an action in the Hyde Park like that in London the organizer is to inform the authorities about his intentions to hold it no later than three days before an action.
The idea to set up special venues for public actions in Moscow has been debated for a long time, the newspaper noted. Back in the spring of 2009 after his visit in Great Britain Dmitry Medvedev, who occupied the post of the president then, proposed to the Moscow authorities to set up a Moscow counterpart of the Speakers’ Corner in the London Hyde Park, where each person can express his opinion freely or participate in the debates on public and political issues. In February 2012, after Vladimir Putin, who was a presidential candidate and the prime minister at the time, approved the idea to set up a permanent venue for political debates in Moscow, a working group headed by Deputy Mayor Alexander Gorbenko was formed. The experts of the working group insisted that the Russian capital needs up to 50 venues of different sizes for 100 to 100,000 people over growing political activities of the Muscovites and an upcoming simplification of the registration of new parties.
By the end of May four possible venues of Moscow Hyde Parks, namely the Luzhniki stadium, the Gorky Park, the Sokolniki Park and the Bolotnaya Square were determined. The online voting passed at the website of the Moscow department of culture. The online voting was not quite active, as a total of 1,400 people were voting, 55% of them voted for the Bolotnaya Square, 18% for Luzhniki, 13.5% for the Gorky Park and 13.5% for the Sokolniki Park. The venues picked up by the working group finally did not coincide with the results of the sociological survey, as it was decided to set up venues for debates from 2,000 to 2,500 people at the Gorky Park and the Sokolniki Park.
Last October, Gorbenko noted that the venues for rallies and speeches will be opened as of January 1, 2013. However, head of the Moscow security department Alexei Mayorov denied this report at the end of the previous year. He told the Izvestia daily that the venues for debates will go into operation no earlier than April 2013, because the officials did not have enough time to finalize their legal registration before the New Year holidays. Meanwhile, Mayorov noted that some more time will be needed to create the necessary infrastructure, including the construction of the stage, the instalment of the illumination and the provision with recycle bins and etc.
The oppositionists, who named earlier the opening of the Hyde Parks as “an attempt to form a political ghetto”, like more this idea now, the Kommersant daily noted. “It was already decided long ago that we will negotiate for the venues of major events in the usual mode in other parts of the city, and the Hyde Parks can be used to hold some minor action urgently,” Solidarity member Sergei Davidis, who is included in the organizing committees of the latest protest rallies, told the newspaper. He still does not rule out that the Moscow authorities will be more reluctant to authorize any actions in other parts of the city after the formation of the Moscow Hyde Parks.