TODAY: Anti-mayoral protests in Moscow; Luzhkov returns; Ryazan rally crack down; Go Russia all the rage; Investigative Committee’s growing powers; Polish warmth towards Moscow fading; Islamophobia in the capital?
‘The ground is shaking under Luzhkov’: the thin-ice-walking Moscow Mayor returns to work today after his weeklong break. Apparently hundreds of opposition activists staged a rally in the metropolis on the weekend calling for the reestablishment of Moscow mayoral elections. About 5,000 Samara residents (or 1,000 according to police) demonstrated on Saturday against what they view to be ‘electioneering’ methods employed by United Russia. The Other Russia reports on local authorities in the city of Ryazan using the threat of terrorist attacks as a pretext for banning more than one public event a day; a ruling designed to curb protests, say opposition activists. The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay $44,400 for deporting a Tajik opposition activist who faced incarceration and brutality in his homeland.
Following A Just Russia’s decision to start a modernization movement called ‘Go Russia’ apparently United Russia has followed suit, with its own equivalent of the same name, which has, the party’s leader says, the support of term-coiner Medvedev. How the ‘Pirate Party’ whose motto is ‘copy everything’ (except presumably Russia’s current anti-piracy laws) is seeking support among internet users. Alexey Kovalev in the Guardian discusses how blogging and tweeting are proving useful tools for undermining power structures. A look at the recent decision to re-enforce the powers of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General’s Office and make its answerable to the President.
A new CBOS poll has showed that 28% of Poles are now negative about Warsaw-Moscow ties, while 26% are positive, despite the recent rapprochement. The proposal to build a mosque in the southern part of Moscow has prompted 2,000 residents to sign a petition against its construction, sparking discussion of ethnic tensions. Prime Minister Putin has welcomed a new highway. Architect Boris Pasternak, grandson of the feted novelist, has railed against plans to build a museum opposite the Kremlin. Russia profits from the woolly mammoth.