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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Protest outside Putin's childhood home

From The St Petersburg Times:

A new opposition movement Oborona, or Defense, held its first protest against the policies of President Vladimir Putin on Monday by hanging a sign on a half-destroyed building at 5 Baskov Pereulok, near the place where Putin spent his childhood.

About 20 young people, supported by the St. Petersburg branch of Yabloko party hung up a sign outlining the most controversial actions undertaken by the Kremlin within the last five years that have harmed thousands of civilians and law enforcement staff.

"A hooligan grew up here who would become the pugnacious, KGB employee and future Russian president V.V. Putin. His achievements are Chechnya, Kursk [submarine disaster], Nord-Ost, Beslan, censorship and the vertical of power," the sign said.

The protest proceeded without incident. The police stood on the other side of the street, watching the event and sometimes smiling. It appeared most of them did not even know what the action was about before the sign, which was covered with black material, was unveiled.

"I have no idea what this is about. Probably about the state of this collapsing building or something?" one policemen said to a colleague standing beside him.

The police removed the sign soon after the protest ended.

Maxim Reznik, head of St. Petersburg's branch of Yabloko, said that several participants were detained and their clothes ripped apart at a similar protest organized by Yabloko and the National Bolshevik Party on Tuesday last week.

Oborona was created this month to unite young people who oppose Putin's policies and has support from Yabloko, Idushchiye bez Putina, the Union of Right Forces, Our Choice party and the Group to Support Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The organization is reportedly hanging signs or posters that are critical of the Kremlin in city streets. The signs are usually removed by the police as soon as they are reported to law enforcement officers.

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