“You need to prepare for the rally normally” – Kommersant newspaper No. 114 (6835) on 07/02/2020

The opposition, which had previously split over the tactics of combating constitutional changes, could not eventually agree on protests against the results of the vote. Opposition politician Alexei Navalny boycotted this procedure and did not call on supporters for street rallies. But the leaders of the campaign “No!” nevertheless, they came out to protest on Pushkin Square, but gathered, according to Kommersant’s correspondents, about 300 people. There were no detentions in Moscow at the time of delivery.

No Campaign started at the beginning of the year almost immediately after the announcement by President Putin of the intention to change the Basic Law: their “Manifesto of Russian citizens against the constitutional coup and usurpation of power” was published on January 23. The campaign leaders were municipal deputies Yulia Galyamina and Ilya Azar, as well as Open Russia coordinator Andrei Pivovarov. Oppositionists managed to hold several protests, but then the coronavirus intervened: the campaign continued on the Internet. On July 1, at 12:00, Andrei Pivovarov recorded a video message in which he asked supporters to come to Pushkinskaya Square for a “meeting” at 18:00 in order to “discuss the voting results”. In turn, Ilya Azar wrote in social networks that he does not call anyone to the square, but he will be there: “I just can’t limit myself to a fig on Facebook.”

Even before the start of the campaign, Anna Krechetova, the widow of the recently died opposition activist Sergei Mokhnatkin, stood on the pedestal of the Pushkin monument. “Regarding the amendments, my husband said that we should have democratic power. Unfortunately, this is not the case, ”she told numerous journalists, holding a photograph of Sergey Mokhnatkin and the poster“ I / We are the Constitution of Russia ”in her hands. Another protester in a cardboard mask with a portrait of Vladimir Putin turned on a portable speaker – from it sounded cut statements by the president, including on the inviolability of the Constitution. A young man in a T-shirt with phrases about zeroing the presidential terms told the media: “I’ve been unemployed for three months, and all the years that I worked at a construction site in a restaurant I could only earn on food. I would be ready to tolerate Putin until 2024, but not until 2036. ”

The police, who until recently dispersed even single pickets, did not show much interest in the “meeting” and at first even offered its participants free medical masks.

“Active action, voting against is our vote against stealing the future from us,” said Andrei Pivovarov. Nearby in the crowd Ilya Azar spoke with supporters – he said that public speaking was not his “strength”. “To be honest, the number of people is not very large to conduct a procession or some other event,” Andrei Pivovarov admitted.

Opposition politician Alexei Navalny previously announced a boycott of the vote, both because of the threat of the coronavirus and in disagreement with its organization. In his opinion, the large number of voters outside the polling stations and the lengthy voting for several days discredited the whole process. Mr. Pivovarov said that he had been negotiating with Alexey Navalny’s team and other opposition leaders for a joint rally for a week, but he was refused by the Anti-Corruption Fund: “They believe that the protests should be postponed to a later date. We do not criticize them, it seems to me that we have built constructive communication. ” FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov called Kommersant’s question “strange” about why Alexey Navalny’s team did not support the rally of the No! Committee:

«Because we did not call, that’s all. There are many objective reasons. And we believe that it is necessary to prepare normally for the rally. ”

At the time of the surrender, there were no detentions on Pushkinskaya Square.

On July 1, two actions took place in St. Petersburg. First, about 100 people came out to the Palace Square with posters. Despite the recent rain, irrigation machines drove into the square. However, this did not scare the protesters. The crowd did not disperse even after the police vans arrived, on the contrary, people themselves lined up in front of them “in the queue for detention.” The police chose to move aside and only after the rally detained one of the participants. The second action took place later at the Gallery shopping center, about 40 people gathered there. There were no detentions, but a kind of rehearsal took place. Riot police surrounded a group of activists who joined hands and chanted the slogans: “The best amendment is Putin’s resignation” and “Russia will be free.” However, after half a minute, the police returned to the bus.

Vladimir Kheifets, Kira Dyuryagina, Natalya Glukhova, Oleg Dilimbetov, St. Petersburg

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