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Russian Opposition Facing a Reroute

Russian Opposition Facing a Reroute

June looks to be an exciting month in regards to the Russian opposition campaigns raging in Moscow. Russian president Vladimir Putin and his prime minister Dmitri Medvedev have both committed to closing down protests in an attempt to stop complaints against their policies and the current government.

Putin was reinstated as president this past March in elections that many claim were fraudulent. Protests have filled the streets of Moscow since the election and have ebbed and flowed with the current political debates in the country. Arrests and brutality have both accompanied campaigns aimed directly at the president and his policies.

In May President, Putin and the State Duma attempted to push through a bill that would increase the fine for participating in unsanctioned protests from a few hundred dollars to over the equivalent of $32,000. The bill may still pass, having already survived three readings in the state Duma.

The legislation would also ban wearing any kind of mask or balaclava during any type of rally. This debate comes on the heels of a Strategy 31 rally that took place this week. The Strategy 31 organization stages a protest on the 31st day of every month with 31 days in order to speak up for the health of the Constitution’s Article 31, which upholds the right of free assembly, the Moscow Times Reports.

Strategy 31 rallies have been staged since 2009, and this week dozens of protesters were arrested, including the writer Eduard Liminov. Any other protesters attempting to enter Triumfalnaya Ploshchad square, where the demonstration was held, were dispersed and refused entry.

Masks were apparently worn in a recent May 6 rally, in which a few suspects were accused of assualting police officers while wearing balaclavas. The young Andrei Barabanov, one of the suspects, has issued a hunger strike while he is detained. His trial date is set for July.

Demonstrators of all styles have faced increasing obstacles over the last two or three months as police presence and legal restrictions have increased. Protesters planning a June 12 march through Moscow have been forced to take an alternate route. While city hall admittedly approved a march for 50,000, participants it appears that officials are attempting to reroute the march to veer away from the center of town.

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov has stood by his demands to lead the march through the center of town, using the same traditional route used by Putin in the May Day celebrations held a month ago. The march has been titled the March of Millions, according to RT News.

With the threat of increased fines and the recent memories of the brutalities practiced on protesters on the eve of Putin’s inauguration, it is difficult to tell how peacefully this opposition march will be in just a number of days. Opposition leaders Udaltsov and Alexei Navalny have both stood their ground after arrests and threats. In fact, a top businessman in Russia, Vladimir Ashurkov, plans to find donors to support Navalny’s opposition to oppressive government policies, even though there has always been a traditional ban on businessmen officially funding opposition to the government.

Related Stories:

Opposition Leaders Released Amid Fine Turmoil

Putin Plans to Cripple Protests with New Bloated Fines

Poll Shows Putin’s Popularity is Sagging as Protests Continue

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Photo Credit: Anna Plotnikova

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29 comments

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2:55PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

BOB A.
I don't know if you direct your post to me or to RISTO S. but I will answer it.

Obama could have veto this legislation but he not only chose NOT to do it, but he actually demanded Congress took away the language making an exception for US citizens and legal residents!!!

Carl Levy is clearly saying so in a YouTube video when explaining the outcome to another congressman.
OBAMA WANTED THE LAW TO APPLY TO US CITIZENS INSIDE THE US AND ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
Once he did that, for public consumption, he "promised" verbally "Not to use it against US citizens" during his administration.

Obama APOLOGISTS have not a leg to stand on.

Four years ago I campaigned and supported the Obama election, with money and MoveOn.org calling all over the US from my home, with others, to convince voters to vote for him.

OBAMA HAS BEEN A CONSISTENT LIAR EVER SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE, always saying what people want to hear but doing the opposite. From the gangsters he surrounded himself with Larry Summers and Tim Geithner while rejecting Stiglitz, Bruksley Born, Michael Hudson, Bill Black. Even Elizabeth Warner whose consumer protection agency she worked so hard to set up, was kicked out because his BOSSES IN WALL STREET told him she had to go.

Obama's mother is turning on her grave seeing what her son has turned into, especially after his OPPOSITION to the "public option" during the Obamacare fiasco written and demanded by the Pharma and the Medical insurance corporatocracy

1:25PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

thanks.

10:39AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

Risto S - I believe your concerns about loss of democratic rights and reference to what we should have learned from the history of the Weimar Republic have some merit, but find it interesting that in taking (legitimate) offense to the NDAA, you blame it on Obama, while IGNORING the fact that the vote in the House shows 190 Republican and 93 Democrats in favor, 43 Republicans and 93 Democrats opposed.

10:37AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

Risto S - I believe your concerns about loss of democratic rights and reference to what we should have learned from the history of the Weimar Republic have some merit, but find it interesting that in taking (legitimate) offense to the NDAA, you blame it on Obama, while IGNORING the fact that the vote in the House shows 190 Republican and 93 Democrats in favor, 43 Republicans and 93 Democrats opposed.

5:09AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

thanks

6:59AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

RISTO S

I find it amusing how so many Putin's accusers as being a dictator, don't understand Barack Obama or any other US president today, is also a dictator, by using a deeply corrupt pseudo-democratic process to pass laws like the NDAA on a 31st of December (when nobody is looking while enjoying New Years) taking all liberties from US citizens.

WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEE WE IN THE US ARE AS VULNERABLE TODAY AS WERE GERMANS DURING HITLER'S ADMINISTRATION BEFORE WWII?

Even the name "Home Land Security" was borrowed from the Nazis.

The US is NOT any more the "free" country it once was and has always been a short step to fascism, as shown by its reaction to the Japanese Americans who were put in concentration camps merely for having Japanese heritage. And who did it? The US biggest hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt!!!

Today it is the Muslims who are bearing the brunt of the collective hate, and it is done without realizing this is exactly the same as when ALL Jews are attacked for merely being one.

Check this so you can be brought down to earth from your cloud and see actual reality

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2Xh5eN2fXY

PUTIN IS A DEFENDER OF RUSSIA, WHILE OBAMA IS A TROJAN HORSE SELLING AMERICANS TO THE BANKSTERS

3:06AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Putin is dictator and no good for Rusia!

12:10AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

The Russians are so used to totalitarian regimes, ever since the tzars, that they praise Putin for giving them back their emperial feeling after Jelcin lost it for them. The opposition has little chance.

4:20PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Does anyone remember the lesson of the sand? Take a handful of sand and clench it as tight as you can. The harder you try to contain and control it the more the sand slides through your fingers. The same lesson holds true about repressive government. The harder those in control try to remain in power the stronger and more dedicated the opposition that forms to resist them. Like the old 38 Special song "Hold on Loosely but don't let go. If you cling to tightly you're gonna loose control." Hopefully Putin and Medeyev will loose control.

4:17PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Does anyone remember the lesson of the sand? Take a handful of sand and clench it as tight as you can. The harder you try to contain and control it the more the sand slides through your fingers. The same lesson holds true about repressive government. The harder those in control try to remain in power the stronger and more dedicated the opposition that forms to resist them. Like the old 38 Special song "Hold on Loosely but don't let go. If you cling to tightly you're gonna loose control." Hopefully Putin and Medeyev will loose control.

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