MYPLACE team members at Centre for Youth Research, Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg) write on events surrounding the inauguration of President Putin.
For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE
Vladimir Putin officially became Russian president. On the day of the inauguration ceremony numerous confrontations between the protest participants and the police occurred. About 600 people were detained at the end of the second day, 7 were hospitalized, dozens were injured, one died – a photographer who was trying to take a picture of the action from the top, fell down from the fifth floor and died.
Sunday, the 6th of May, has already been named “The Bloody Sunday”. The opposition’s demonstration called “Million-man march”took place this day. According to the organizers, around 100 thousand people took part in it. Official figures, as always, are much smaller – 10 thousand. Journalists reported that police officers had given the figure of 70 thousand people. The confrontations started when a crowd of thousands was not allowed to procede toBolotnaya Square, the initial place of the demonstration, by the police cordon.
Numerous videos and photographs approving the cram started as well as the attempts to break the cordon and violent detentions were uploaded in the Internet. Here is a wide shot of the action.
These are blogger’s Ilya Epishkin’s photographs from the “Million-man march” (http://onlife.me/2012/05/marsh-millionov-v-trex-fotografiyax/#comment-13697) and a video showing detentions of people and confrontations with the policemen made by “Novaya Gazeta” journalists
The “Million-men march” organisers were detained right after the unrest started – Sergey Udaltsov, Alexey Navalny and Boris Nemtsov were delivered to the police station. They encouraged people not to leave the demostration and continue the struggle. This day a couple of public opinion oppositional leaders critisized the organizers of the “march” and accused them of provocations that lead to people’s suffering.
For example, Ksenia Sobchak, who was actively participating in the “For Fair Elections” protests, made a post in her LiveJournal saying that it was the first time she decided not to participate in the demostration as she predicted the unrest beforehand. (http://sobchak-xenia.livejournal.com/6049.html) “I am a peaceful oppositionist”, – she claimed. At the same time she accused Kremlin for the inadequate reaction on the protest movement that lead to its radicalization.
On the 7th of May confrontations with the police continued in Moscow. Attention was concentrated on the central avenues where Putin’s cortege was supposed to proceed. As a result, the new president proceeded on the deserted streets.
This was preceded by active work of the special police units with the opposition. Particularly, here is a “Radio Svoboda” journalists’ video showing how the police gets the people out of Jean-Jaque cafe on Nikitinsky boulevard that is a traditional place of liberal oriented people meetings.
As a tradition, pro-Kremlin youth activists arrived in Moscow from different cities to support Putin. They occupied the same streets at oppositionists – Tverskoy and Nikitinsky boulevards, Pushkinskaya Square.
Young people holding hearts saying “Putin loves everyone” were handing out ribbons with the colours of the Russian flag and as a feedback they were getting rude definitions from Putin’s opponents. This video shows the confrontation between the two groups: one was shouting “Russia without Putin!» the other – “Putin, our victory!”
It is not that the people are down after these two days – people are shocked of the events on the 6th of May and the police’s violence. Vladimir Putin didn’t respond anyhow on these happenings onBolotnaya Square. Meanwhile, Sergey Udaltsov and Alexey Navalny, having got the name of “radical left activists”, are preparing other protest actions.