| JRL Home | JRL Simple/Mobile | RSS | Newswire | Archives | JRL Newsletter | Support | About
Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Over 30,000 Russians Take Part In Events To Mark Day Of National Unity

Map of Russia's Republics
file photo
Marches and events have been held in Moscow and other Russian cities to mark the Day of National Unity on 4 November, corporate-owned Interfax news agency, state news agency RIA Novosti and Gazprom-owned editorially independent Ekho Moskvy radio station reported on the same day. In total, around 32,000 people took part in mass events in Moscow. Nationalist march

Nationalists held a Russian March in the Lyublino district in south-east Moscow, which attracted around 7,000 people, Interfax reported. Following the march, a rally and concert began, at which the leaders of nationalist movements were due to speak and musical groups were to perform.

The procession was led by the march's organizers, Dmitriy Demushkin, Vladimir Tor and Aleksandr Belov, followed by a column of members of the Union of Orthodox Church Banner-Bearers (Rus: Soyuz Pravoslavnykh Khorugvenostsev) who were carrying icons and orthodox crosses. Behind them, participants carried a 30-metre-long cloth with the imperial flag on it. In total, the column stretched out for 2 km.

During the march, participants lit several flares and smoke bombs. During the event, residents of neighbouring apartment blocks hung imperial flags out of their windows and shouted slogans in support of the participants.

The Interior Ministry's Main Directorate said that around 7,000 people are taking part in the event. One of the organizers, Dmitriy Demushkin, had said previously that the number of participants would reach 25,000.

Dmitriy Demushkin told Interfax later that there had been no complaints made by the prefecture about the march, adding that police detained only a few people who were intoxicated. However, it was reported previously that police had seized knives, chains, flares and smoke bombs from several participants in the nationalist Russian March in the south-east of Moscow.

Well-known blogger Aleksey Navalnyy took part in the Russian March but actor Ivan Okhlobystin and musicians Konstantin Kinchev and Yuriy Shevchuk, who were invited by the organizers, did not attend, RIA Novosti reported.

Ekho Moskvy's correspondent, who attended the march, reported that Navalnyy said today's event was, for the first time, accompanied by a large number of political slogans, one of which was "Down with the party of crooks and thieves". Navalnyy also said that people attending the march were not opposing ethnic groups but opposing the usurpation of power. The correspondent remarked that Navalnyy said that he had not noticed the nationalist slogans being shouted, which were in fact, according to the correspondent, in the majority.

Ekho Moskvy's presenter noted that the nationalist event was accompanied by barriers, metal detectors and even a police helicopter, adding that there were quite a lot of children and teenagers present at the march. Some children, including one in a pushchair, were there with their parents, but most of the teenagers were there by themselves, she said.

For his part, director of the Sova human rights centre Aleksandr Verkhovskiy told Ekho that the number of children and teenagers who share nationalist ideas is indeed increasing every year. However, he said that young people's participation in nationalist events does not reflect the whole depth of the problem.

Criminal case launched against nationalist

Interfax reported earlier on the same day that a criminal case has been launched against one of the organizers of the nationalist Russian March, Konstantin Krylov, quoting a source in the law-enforcement agencies.

"A criminal case was launched against Krylov yesterday under the article (of the Russian Criminal Code) 'Inciting interethnic discord'," the source said, adding that Krylov was detained on 4 November by police employees.

Meanwhile, Ekho Moskvy radio station reported later on the same day that Krylov had been released and gave further details of the case.

"Konstantin Krylov who is considered one of the organizers of the so-called Russian March has been released under a written undertaking not to leave the city, the Russian Investigations Committee has said. He was detained yesterday on suspicion of extremist statements, which he made during a rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad (square in Moscow) on 22 October. Following a probe, investigators launched a criminal case. Krylov was taken yesterday to Zamoskvoretskiy investigations department and was questioned as a suspect, RIA Novosti has reported," Ekho Moskvy's presenter said.

One Russia (United Russia), Nashi events

The press service of the Interior Ministry's Main Directorate told Interfax that an event held by the One Russia Party on Poklonnaya Gora (a hill in Moscow, the site of a military memorial) had gathered around 10,000 people, while 15,000 people are participating in an event organized by the Nashi pro-Kremlin youth movement at the All-Russian Exhibition Centre in Moscow.

The directorate said that no public order violations had been recorded at the One Russia and Nashi events.

A spokesperson for Nashi told RIA Novosti on the same day that "this march is not an alternative to the Russian March (by the nationalists), which is taking place now in Lyublino. This is the only true Russian March, as different peoples who make our country famous are taking part in it."

Participants are walking through the central path of the exhibition centre chanting "I love Russia" and also the names of the Russian cities where they have come from; youth groups from around 50 Russian cities are said to be taking part.

Representatives of the Stal (Steel), Vse Doma (All Houses or Everyone At Home) and Khryushi Protiv (Pigs Against) movements are also present at the march.

LDPR rally

Supporters of the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) gathered on 4 November for a rally on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad (square) in Moscow. The event's main slogan was "LDPR is for Russians", the head of the party's Moscow branch Viktor Sobolev told RIA Novosti.

"Today, 4 November, the LDPR held its 'LDPR is for Russians' rally on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad. We marked both the 4 November holiday (Day of National Unity) and the main points of our election campaign, which is aimed at protecting the Russian population," Sobolev said, adding that a large number of people gathered on the square, more than the party had even expected.

He added that the party's leader Vladimir Zhirinovskiy addressed the rally.

Anti-fascist march

An anti-fascist march took place on 4 November, on Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko (Taras Shevchenko Embankment), RIA Novosti reported on the same day.

The event was organized by anarchist and socialist youth movements to counterbalance the nationalist Russian March held in the Lyublino district. It took place without detentions or incidents.

According to the organizers of the anti-fascist march, around 140 different peoples live in Russia and the promotion of nationalist demands is unacceptable.

The main slogan of the march on Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko was "For unity in the fight against nationalism and capitalism".

According to the organizers, the application for the participation of 500 people in the march was authorized by the city authorities.

Ekho Moskvy reported that around 300 people took part in the march. Despite rumours that nationalists might lay in wait for the anti-nationalist protesters after the march, it took place without incident.

One of the organizers told Ekho Moskvy that their march is a response to all of the nationalist events which are taking place on the same day in Russia.

"For us, 4 November is not a holiday. We are very deeply concerned by the fact that the government, using nationalist slogans, is diverting the population's attention away from real social problems. And therefore we are opposing nationalism because it, as a matter of fact, is dividing society and provokes only hatred. Generally, activists of left-wing organizations have gathered here, that is anarchists, socialists, anti-fascists. We believe that nationalism is nothing other than a manifestation of capitalism," the unnamed organizer said.

Events in other Russian towns

Russian Marches were also held in a number of other Russian towns and cities, at which no incidents were reported, RIA Novosti reported.

An event in Irkutsk gathered around 150 people - almost five times fewer than organizers had planned, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry's Main Directorate for Irkutsk Region said, noting that the event passed off peacefully.

A Russian March in the form of a rally also took place in Arkhangelsk, which attracted around 60 people, according to the regional Interior Ministry directorate. The rally's organizer said that it was held as a sign of solidarity with events being held on the same day in other Russian towns.

Meanwhile, around 300 people took part in a march in Nizhniy Novgorod. One of the organizers told RIA Novosti that participants walked 2.5 km, chanting "Freedom to the Russian people" and calling for the budget to be allocated fairly and for young people to give up smoking.

In Novosibirsk, participants held a small rally after which there was a march to a square in the city, where the main rally was held. For the first time this year the Novosibirsk branches of three political parties - A Just Russia, Right Cause and Patriots of Russia - joined the Russian March. A police spokesperson said that up to 500 people took part in the march and around 250 people in the second rally.


Russia, Government, Politics - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

Bookmark and Share - Back to the Top -        


Bookmark and Share

- Back to the Top -        

  Follow Johnson's Russia List on Twitter Tweet