On Sunday, January 13th, Moscow and several other cities of Russia held protest actions against the “Law of Dima Yakovlev”. The formal pretext for the actions was not even the law per se, but the section of it, which refers to the ban on adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.
Not surprisingly, liberal oppositionists went to protest against the law. The column for the action called “The march against scoundrels” was headed by Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Ryzhkov. All of them have certain political ties with European countries and the U.S.. Therefore, their participation in the action seemed quite natural.
There was another thing that seemed unnatural. It goes about the fact that coordinator of the “Left Front,” Sergei Udaltsov, and the radical left in general also took part in the action. It would seem that because of their political views, they should not support the ban on adoptions (at least not publicly), nor should they stand up against it. Things proved to be different, though.
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Sergei Udaltsov said before the march that the U.S. was not an apologist, but the “monstrous law” should be canceled. Cases of violence committed against adopted children in the U.S. are rare, he said, and therefore require only pinpoint measures. More importantly, the law, according to Udaltsov, was passed by illegitimate deputies, senators and president. Therefore, during the action, the participants of the march will demand both houses of the parliament should be disbanded and the president should resign, the coordinator of the Left Front said.
Sergei Udaltsov’s wife Anastasia was far more logical for a leftist person, who wrote on her Twitter: “The march against scoundrels is, again, not the thing that one needs. Why sending children to foreigners, when one needs to solve the problems of these children here?”
By the way, the coordinator of the Left Front became the main “star” of the action. Fortunately, he did not find himself in a paddy wagon during the first minutes of the action.
There were two columns of participants this time – the leftist and the liberal ones. Nationalists declined the idea to participate – although there were people, who occasionally shouted “Glory of Russia!”
The Moscow rally had little in common with the protection of children’s rights. That were “Hands off the kids!” banners – but that was basically all that reminded people of the reason, for which, the march was organized. Well, there were also even posters with pictures of the President, MPs and senators and the word “Shame!” on each of them.
As for creativity, the most recent rally was nothing special either. Except, of course, for an American flag, that one of the demonstrators rose. Other slogans were traditional: “This is our city,” “Russia will be free!” etc.
Organizers of the march applied for 20,000 participants. As previously reported, social networks were not active much.
Although, of course, compared to the uncoordinated action of December 15th, the number of participants was a lot larger. According to estimates of the Moscow Police, 9,500 people took part in the march. Spokespeople for opposition say that there were 30-50 thousand participating. Marchers give another number – 20-25 thousands. As it usually happens in such cases, in the next couple of days, the main debate will be conducted around the amount of participants, rather than about the point of the action, and what influence it could show on people.
Let’s go back to the “stars”. Sergei Udaltsov at the end of the march offered to begin indefinite protest this spring.
Alexei Navalny, in turn, encouraged by the number of participants in the march, said that there was absolutely no decline in protest activity in Russia.
In general, there were no accidents during the most recent march in Moscow, although police detained several drunken people before the demonstration began.
The rallies in other cities were also quiet. The action in St. Petersburg was the largest – there were from 1,000 (police estimate) to 2,000 (the organizers) people participating.
In other Russian cities, (e.g. Ekaterinburg, Omsk, Yaroslavl), the number of participants amounted to several dozens.