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Russian senator says bill on authorized political rally sites to be drafted in September

According to the parliamentarian, the sites will be chosen by local authorities

MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. Russia’s senators are going to draft a bill by the end of September on the right of municipal and rural authorities to select sites for rallies and political demonstrations, the chairman of the Federation Council’s Interim Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty and the Prevention of Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs, Andrei Klimov, told TASS on Friday.

"Such sites will not be selected under a federal law, though. They will be determined by the local authorities. I believe that by the end of September such a document, a concept will be ready. I believe that this should be done by means of amending the existing law, saying that the bodies of local self-government in communities and cities with a certain number of population will determine at least one site for such activities," Klimov said.

A separate law will establish a list of sites where "demonstrations by any political forces will be strictly prohibited." No specific addresses will be mentioned, though.

"They [restrictions] will be general and concern, for instance, the areas of hospitals, government offices, or facilities where people are present round the clock, for instance, railway stations," Klimov said, adding that his speculations about places where political activities might be banned were purely hypothetical for now.

The idea of drafting a bill on the list of specific sites for rallies in Russia was voiced at the commission’s meeting on Thursday.

Earlier, Klimov noted that the temporary commission had identified signs of foreign interference in the unauthorized protest demonstration in downtown Moscow on July 27. He remarked it could be seen in newscasts by the leading English-language and pro-western media, whose coverage of the recent events was biased.

Russia's ruling pary, United Russia, is in favor of the initiative. It suggested reserving an official site for rallies in Moscow and regional centers. In Moscow, Sakharov Square might be used for this purpose, the faction’s leader, State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov told the media on Friday.

"As far as proposals on this score are concerned, they are related to the unauthorized rallies held in Moscow in recent days, of course. We have a proposal for considering the issue of holding authorized mass rallies at some special site," Neverov said. "In Moscow, it may be Sakharov Square, where representatives of all political parties and associations may demonstrate," he noted.

"Of course, we must suggest doing this not only in Moscow, but nearly in all other cities," Neverov pointed out. "We will suggest selecting such sites in cities in other regions. They should not be on the outskirts, hard to reach for the participants. They must be good places in terms of logistics, where people may gather easily and where security can be guaranteed," Neverov stated, adding that such sites might be established in regional legal acts.

He recalled that at the latest unauthorized demonstration "instigators used gas sprayers." "If a special site for rallies is selected, it will be possible to ensure the security of participants, prevent provocations and keep historical sites open to tourists," he said. "Moscow’s Sakharov Square is a place easy to get to. It might be possible to hold rallies and processions by all political forces, including May 1 demonstrations, there," he speculated.

At the unauthorized demonstration in Moscow on July 27 more than 1,000 people were detained. Another 600 were apprehended at another such demonstration on August 3.