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Russia: Anna Politkovskaya's Memorial Rally

On the first anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya‘s death, a few hundred people gathered in Moscow to pay tribute to her – and to talk politics.

LJ user mr_forester posted photos from the Oct. 7 memorial rally and wrote (RUS):

The rally marking the first anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya's death turned into the opposition's full-scale campaign event. Of those who spoke at the rally, the only person who didn't talk about politics was Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta [the newspaper that Politkovskaya wrote for]. In particular, ex-premier [Mikhail Kasyanov] called to his supporters to boycott the upcoming [State Duma] election. [Boris Nemtsov], in his turn, called to those who were at the meeting to fight against the “bureaucratic [sovereign democracy] for a free Russia.” Under the banners of SPS [the Union of Right Forces], apparently. Aleksandr Averin represented the [National Bolsheviks] at the rally; he said that the opposition no longer had “the time for mourning, becuase it's time to be proactive.” Pyotr Miloserdov called those at the meeting to attend the Russian March, planned by the radical right-wing groups… [...]

Photos from a year ago by mr_forester are here.

LJ user afrikane3 has more photos from this year's rally.

LJ user olga_beshley attended the rally, too, and wrote this (RUS):

And there's nothing surprising about the fact that, as recently as yesterday [Oct. 6], the Internet was [silent], and today [Oct. 7], after 1 PM, the web was practically bursting with all the reports about the rally. But yesterday, I couldn't find any info on the upcoming event on any of the popular news sources. Where? What? Where to? What time? But hey, why should the people know… what if they show up there, God forbid. First, there's a rally, then, there's an orange revolution, you know.

[...]

L. and I bought two red roses each. They had run out of carnations in the underground pass.

When we walked out into the square, we had to open our umbrellas. The sky was gloomy, and was throwing down an occasional drop, and it appeared opposed to something, too. To whom? Well, to [Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth movement], for instance: they were celebrating something today [about 10,000 Nashi members celebrated Vladimir Putin's 55th birthday with slogans such as "Putin is our everything!"]…

But the cops made us happy: there were very few of them.

As for the rally, it left a bitter aftertaste. On the one hand, it was nice to see a square full of people, banners, leaflets, photographs of Politkovskaya.

On the other… Again, it seemed as if there were more journalists than there should have been. I don't have a TV set, but I can imagine that there's solidarity with [Nashi members] on the TV today – they must be congratulating VVP [Putin]. Honestly, I haven't seen logos of the federal [Russian] channels at the [Politkovskaya] rally. So here's a question: Who are all these people? Are there really so many foreigners out there? Hmmm.

[...]

I didn't like any of those who spoke at the rally. The people around were quietly talking among themselves, not really listening to Kasyanov and Co. Because their speeches were not inspired, lacked a spark, didn't burn. There was something like a feeling of being doomed in the air. The [so-called] “elections” are almost here, but the opposition is nothing but a damaged mosaics [...].

[Eduard Limonov] once said that the Dissenters [the opposition to the Kremlin] had gained a tiny victory by regaining their right [to voice their opinion publicly]. But is it a victory? Five hundred – or even 700 – people at Novopushkinskiy Square [in Moscow] – is that victory? Maybe it's the other way around – the regime hasn't come to terms, but is no longer afraid?

A foreign journalist wearing a foreign hat did a mini-interview with us on Lesnaya St. [where Politkovskaya lived and was shot to death]. We had come there long before the rest of the marchers did and had already laid the flowers by then.

- Why are there so few people?
“Because no one gives a damn.”
- Hmm, because the mass media didn't really advertise this event, and people need to be constantly reminded…

[...]

LJ user peresedov wrote (RUS):

First, I went to Anna Politkovskaya's memorial rally that was taking place at Novopushkinskiy Square. It (the rally) turned out to be a [Dissenters' March], too – the first one this season. I didn't notice any marching, but the rally was well-organized and went smoothly enough. OMON [riot police] were hiding in buses around the perimeter, the square was surrounded by soldiers in waterproof capes, there were many people, but the majority knew each other.

I [...] didn't like it that a memorial was turned into a podium to show off political ambitions. The intensity of it pushed back the mourning nature of the event. But Vladimir Korsunskiy, for example, didn't think there was anything bad about it: he explained that this was, above all, a political rally – tied to a sorrowful day.

The equipment worked well and loudly, big screens on both side were showing faces of those who were speaking and banners of those who came to the rally.

There were lots of speeches: I liked those by Kasyanov, by the [Nord-Ost] victims, and by the journalists, Politkovskaya's colleagues.

[...]

I liked the initiative to declare October 7 the day of civil dignity.

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