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Limonov Files June 1, 2007
 
History Of An Opposition Movement
By Edward Limonov Browse author
 
 

Other Russia's Conference on July 11-12 have started processes of confrontation between Putin's Kremlin forces and new oppositional forces consolidated under "Other Russia's" banner.

At the moment of "Other Russia's" creation, old opposition forces (Zuganov's Communists, Yavlinski's democrats, the Union of Right Forces) have proved to be impotent. Not dead, but as unactive as dead. For more than decade those opposition parties were present in Russian State Duma, however that presence couldn't stop an installation in Russia of rightwing Putin dictatorship. Exploiting protest emotions of population, Zuganov, Yavlinksi, and rest were actually pretenders, false oppositioners.

It is natural that when in July 2006 "Other Russia" conference have presented "Other Russia" to the world and to Russia, the new opposition was met with skepticism. Union of ex-prime minister Michael Kasyanov, National Bolshevik forces headed by Limonov, plus chess champion Gary Kasparov seemed bizarre, exotical. But only until December 16, 2006. "March of Disagrees" what took place on that day proved to be a success, gathering together more than four thousands disagrees, instead of usual few hundred gathered normally by liberal and communist meetings, menacing their monopoly for public gatherings, surprising for general public.

An NBP/Other Russia cutie and the author behind bars.

But no surprising for Kremlin, as on December 16 more than nine thousand strong police forces were defending center of Moscow from disagrees. Kremlin had better sources of information, so they expected thousands on Mayakovski Plaza that day. Hundreds of "Other Russia" activists were stopped on their way to Moscow, thousands of city dwellers were prevented to come to Mayakovski that day. But all sides got our message: New opposition is born, and it has support of masses.

Even better result was achieved by next "March of Disagrees" on March 3, in St. Petersburg. More than 6,000 people were participating. Center of St. Petersburg was in calamity for three hours. Numerous were skirmishes with special police forces. Despite police forces, despite the fact that communists shamelessly announced on that very day and time their own meeting, despite the fact that some leaders of "Other Russia" were detained, march in St. Petersburg was smashing success. That day, I believe, Kremlin's nervousness on subject of "Other Russia" became parnoia. Because next March of Disagrees in Nizhni Novgorod on March 24 was surrounded by 20,000 strong police forces. Thousands of disagrees were prevented from coming to the place of gathering, nine streets heading to that place were blocked, few hundred activists who battled their way to place of gathering were detained with cruelty. However, "Other Russia" came out of confrontation victorious. It was a moral victory, and moral victory is highest and strongest type of victory.

After that Russian politics became unthinkable without "March of Disagrees," without counting "Other Russia" forces. Old Opposition, losing its influence with amazing rapidity. Inside old oppositional parties, arguments for joining forces with "Other Russia" were born.

Double hit, when marches were launched in Moscow and St. Petersburg on April 14 and 15 were met by Kremlin with unprecedented police violence. Center of Moscow looking as a military camp, was a field for hunting and beating Moscovites by special police forces. And again both marches were moral victories of enormous power. Because acting president and his police force were preventing citizens from realization of its undeniable Constitutional rights for a peaceful manifestation. Sense of justice, however different for each individual, was telling to simple citizens witnessing police terror in their cities, that Kremlin is terribly wrong and terribly guilty.


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