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YABLOKOs action: toughening of penalties for rallies is a straight way towards a totalitarian state

Press Release

May 27, 2012

A theatrical action against toughening of penalties for violations at the rallies took place in Novopushkinsky Garden on May 27. Potential violators were implementing compulsory community services under the sounds of military marches of Hitler's Germany without waiting for the final adoption of the draft law toughening the penalties by the ruling United Russia faction. Half an hour after the start of the action, its organiser Pyotr Ivanchikov was detained by police for alleged non-conformity of the declared topic of the rally with the actual one. "Muscovites complain about the Nazi marches," a police lieutenant told the journalists.

While the protesters were filling Novopushkinsky Garden, YABLOKO activists wearing prisoners' hats broomed the pavement under the sounds of military marches from Hitler's Germany.

"We want to show that the State Duma is going to adopt a law natural in a totalitarian state, said YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin opening the meeting. Under the clamour of possible reduction of fines from 1.5 million roubles to 300,000 roubles, the State Duma adopted a resolution listing these monstrous amendments, he noted.

Participants of the action demonstrated disproportionate punishment for violations that would be introduced by the new law. They could have been convicted to compulsory community services only for wearing the Guy Fawkes masks. In addition, each of them wore a plaque innumerating other aggravating circumstances, such as "walking across Moscow", "trampling the grass," and "wearing a white ribbon.


"One of the new reasons for the prosecution is [participation] in a simultaneous gathering of citizens in public places bearing characteristics of a mass-scale public event, Mitrokhin said. YABLOKO carefully studied the international experience and found a similar norm in the Norwegian legislation in the period of the Nazi occupation. However, Nazis had a different criterion [of a mass-scale public event] starting from five people, he added.

To emphasize the similarity of the amendments initiated by the ruling United Russia with the fascist law, the text of the amendments sounded from the loud speakers in Russian and German under the Adolf Hitler march.

The music was the formal reason for the detention of Pyotr Ivanchikov, organizer of the rally. When Mitrokhin finished his speech, police Lt. Col. Sergei Pavlov came up to the sound engineer and ordered to switch off the music. The police detained Ivanchikov. "I have detained the rally organiser. They had applied for a rally on the election of the Moscow Mayor, and here we hear some Nazi marches, Muscovites do not like this, the colonel reported to his boss.

Sergei Mitrokhin called the actions of the police not legitimate, because the law did not prohibit changes in the topic of a rally. However, other speakers spoke about the need to elect the Mayor of Moscow (Ed. Being initially an elected post, the Moscow Mayor has been recently appointed by the President of Russia) and call the Moscow City Duma elections.

"It's high time to drive the this illegitimate Moscow City Duma to hell, said Dmitry Kataev, one of the Solidarity leaders. He called the protesters to seek re-election of the Moscow parliament and increase the number of deputies to 110 from the present 45.

Vladimir Milov, leader of the Democratic Choice party, promised to the rally that a united list of candidates from the democratic forces will be prepared for the next election to the Moscow parliament, and this list "will have all chances to take control of the city parliament. "Rogues and thieves, even taking into account the fraud, obtained less than 50 per cent of the vote at the recent elections, which means that the united opposition has a chance to take control of the Moscow City Duma," Vladimir Milov said. If this happens, then all restrictions on street protests and nomination of candidates for the post of the Moscow Mayor will be abolished, he promised.

Yevgeny Alyokhin, one of the organisers of the White Fashion Show at the Red Square (when all the protesters were wearing something white instead of simply wearing white ribbons), reminded the protesters that YABLOKO had announced nomination of Sergei Mitrokhin to the post of the Moscow Mayor. He called the rally to support this candidate.

After the end of the rally Sergei Mitrokhin and Ilya Ponomaryov, State Duma deputy, went to the local police station where policemen took Pyotr Ivanchikov.

Photos and videos from the rally

On June 5, when the draft law will be examined by the Duma in the second and possibly the third reading, YABLOKO will repeat the walking protests by the State Duma (as promotion of its picketing which will be held at 11.00 a.m. by the monument to Karl Marx).

The walking protest will begin at 9:00 a.m. The participants will gather at the exit from Okhotny Ryad metro station at the corner of Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street and Okhotny Ryad.

See also:

Rally against raising of penalties for rallies. Press Release, May 22, 2012

Mitrokhin released without charges, other activists will stand before court. Press Release, May 22, 2012.

Sergei Mitrokhin and activists detained at the "walking protests" by the State Duma
Press Release, May 22, 2012.

Youth YABLOKO to picket the State Duma protesting against raising of fines for rallies
Press Release, May 17, 2012.

Yavlinsky called on the "walking protestors" in St. Petersburg to set political goals. Interfax. May 15, 2012

Human Rights

Freedom of Assembly


Press Release

May 27, 2012

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