Russia: Open Hostility in Moscow Surrounding Putin's Inauguration

Both civilians and those charged with keeping order in the city displayed open hostility on Sunday, May 6, when protesters took to the streets of Moscow in anticipation of Vladimir Putin's inauguration.

Russian LJ user gyperbol provided [ru] readers with a detailed city map where the events of the day took place, along with the following numbered explanations:

1. Демонстранты пришли по Большой Полянке.

1. Demonstrators arrived along Bolshaya Polyanka St.

2. Поперек улицы Серафимовича от «Ударника» до угла сквера тянулась тройная цепь ОМОНовцев и солдат внутренних войск.

2. Across Serafimovich St. from the «Udarnik» [movie thater] to the corner of the park ran a triple chain of riot police and soldiers of internal troops.

3. Болотная площадь также была оцеплена и никого туда не пускали. Демонстрантов загоняли на Болотную набережную.

3. Bolotnaya Square was also blocked off and nobody was allowed in there. Demonstrators were driven to Bolotnaya Embankment.

4. Мосты, ведущие в центр, были перекрыты грузовиками и огромными кордонами ОМОНа.

4. Bridges leading to the center were blocked by trucks and huge cordons of riot police.

5. Сцена находилась далеко в стороне, в конце узкого коридора Болотной Набережной.

5. The stage was located far away, at the end of the narrow corridor of Bolotnaya Embankment.

6. Проход к сцене был перекрыт рамками металлоискателей. […]

6. The entrance to the stage was blocked by a metal detector. […]

The Russian blogosphere has surged with photographs and videos of the events that followed when protesters clashed with police.

Police beat a detainee at the May 6 opposition rally in Moscow. Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLAEV, copyright © Demotix (06/05/2012).

LJ user berendeishche published several photographs of the more peaceful events of the day, including the sit-in.

Twitter users spread around a article [ru], which included several powerful photographs of people being arrested. One video that appeared (see below) on Twitter showed a giant crowd pushing against a police barricade. (More of May 6 Twitter reactions [ru, en] are here.)

Novaya Gazeta's Facebook page posted photographs from one of their articles [ru]. User Nickolai G. Bondarenko, in a comment, included a link to a YouTube video (see below) that showed police using force.

RIA Novosti, a state-owned Russian news agency, published an article on Sunday titled, “Moscow Riots Show Anti-Putin Drive Sustainable – Pundits” along with a photo gallery of images from the day.

Many bloggers have already begun to analyze both the immediate and long-term causes of the clash.

Activist Yevgeniya Chirikova discussed [ru] what she viewed as the two immediate causes of Sunday's events:

1)Сотни тысяч людей вышли зимой на площади с вполне конкретными, осмысленными  и реализуемыми требованиями – реформы избирательной системы, перевыборов, отставки Чурова, освобождения политзаключенных. НИ ОДНО из этих требований не было выполнено

2) Преступное и бессмысленное решение полицейского руководства начать разгон “сидячей забастовки” (вероятно, санкционированное на “самом верху”, судя по заявлениям Пескова)  – которое, собственно, и запустило насилие

1) Hundreds of thousands of people came out [to protest] last winter with concrete, sensible, and realistic demands – reforms of the electoral system, a re-vote, resignation of [the head of the Central Election Commission, Vladimir Churov], and the release of political prisoners. NONE of these demands has been honored. […]2) The criminal and pointless decision made by the police authorities to break up the “sit-in” (probably sanctioned at [the highest level], judging by the statements of [Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's spokesperson]) – that, in fact, was what set the violence in motion.

LJ user drugoi further condensed [ru] the causes of Sunday's events:

Я думаю, что настоящий виновник произошедшего — нынешняя власть, которая, выкрутив народу руки, устроила жалкое посмешище из основного инструмента управления демократическим государством — выборов. Сначала парламентских, а потом президентских. Люди чувствуют себя обманутыми и точка кипения вчера пришлась на Болотную.

I think that the true culprit of the events is the current regime, which, by twisting the people's arms, organized a pathetic mockery of the basic instrument of managing a democratic state – the elections. At first it was the parliamentary, and later the presidential elections. The people feel cheated, and the boiling point came at Bolotnaya yesterday.


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