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Russia: Post-Election Protest in Vladivostok on December 10

RuNet Echo This post is part of RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project to interpret the Russian language internet. All Posts · Learn more

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.

The recent election and its reportedly unfair result still remain the reason for debates in the country. Despite reported cases of rigging and fraudulent activities during the voting period, Russian citizens were able to demonstrate their party preferences.

In 4 out of 5 electoral districts of the far Eastern city of Vladivostok the Communist party won over United Russia, showing one of the lowest levels of support for the United Russia party across the country.

Prior to the national protests that took place on December 10 in various Russian cities, the Vladivostok internet community had been actively discussing the necessity to protest. People did not call for revolution or the violent change of the regime; on the contrary people called for peaceful protests without any violence. User AlleyCat wrote that calling for revolution is pointless without a clear and precise program of what will happen afterwards.

Vladivostok bloggers supported protesters in Moscow, even being ten thousand kilometers away. Picture by Don Sera (public domain)

Before the protest day some bloggers reported on the riot police that arrived from Moscow to “disperse the protesters.” It was not the first time that the Kremlin has sent Moscow riot police to stop demonstrations in Vladivostok, therefore the pre-protest atmosphere was a bit tense.

The protest, as in many other parts of the country, turned out to be non-violent and friendly without any cases of police brutality. Various sources claimed that from 500 to 1000 people – mostly representatives of the Communist party, TIGR movement and local bloggers – showed up at the protest action. You can find more pictures here and here.

User anbavl shared a video [ru] from the demonstration:

Blogger Followme noted that despite the fact that there were not that many people, even a thousand people was an impressive result for Vladivostok, a city with approximately 610 thousand inhabitants.

LiveJournal user Don Sera pointed out that there were not many cases of vote rigging during the elections in Vladivostok, therefore “protesters in Vladivostok mainly supported everyone who was fighting for civil freedoms and fair elections,” e.g. imprisoned Alexey Navalny and Ilya Yashin.

Police were not aggressive and no one got arrested. Don Sera wrote that this was due to a good tradition in the city where even the police officers drive cars with a steering wheel on the right side – an unofficial symbol of Vladivostok.

Renowned Vladivostoki blogger Zeka Vasch claimed that all representatives of the local LiveJournal and Twitter communities were at the protest, mainly because the mainstream media did not provide coverage for the planned protests. As in the rest of Russia, local netizens left their online world and participated in the offline activity.

This post is part of our special coverage Russia Elections 2011.

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