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Russians Rally Against Economic Policy

From an annoyed Associated Press:

Thousands rally in Russia against economic policy

By Irina Titova, Associated Press Writer

March 20, 2010

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Thousands of people rallied across Russia Saturday to denounce the government’s economic policy and demand more freedom in a new challenge to the Kremlin reflecting increasing disillusionment and a growing potential for protests.

Many participants in the rallies, dubbed the "Day of Wrath" by the opposition, demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

About 1,000 people demonstrated in St. Petersburg holding placards "Putin’s team must resign!"

Police didn’t intervene in the St. Petersburg protest, but they barred protesters chanting anti-Putin slogans from holding a rally on a downtown Moscow. City police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said 70 people had been detained for taking part in the protest, which was not authorized by authorities.

Opposition activists have insisted the Russian constitutions guarantees the right of assembly…

An opposition rally in the far eastern port of Vladivostok drew about 1,500 people, and similar protests were to be held in many other cities throughout Russia on Saturday.

Several thousand demonstrators gathered in the Baltic city of Kaliningrad despite a decision by the opposition leaders to cancel the protest. They chanted "Government should resign!" and called for the ouster of the provincial governor, the Interfax news agency reported. Police did not intervene.

Organizers said about 5,000 people attended the protest, while police said about 3,000 took part, Interfax said.

A rally in Kaliningrad in January attracted about 10,000 in the largest anti-government protest in years, and the event clearly worried the government. Putin has criticized the main pro-Kremlin party, saying its empty promises have fed discontent

"Nothing will change as long as Putin stays at the helm," Olga Kurnosova of the United Civil Front, an umbrella group uniting several opposition parties and movements, said at St. Petersburg’s rally. "We don’t want him to continue ruling."

Some protesters criticized Putin’s Cabinet for failing to compensate for a rise in utility tariffs that has affected living standards.

"I’m worried about growing gas and electricity prices," Vyacheslav Ivanov, a 71-year old retiree. "The prices are growing, and we are getting poorer."

Many others blamed the government for red tape and rampant corruption that have stifled business.

"I came to this rally because it’s impossible to develop small business in this country," said the 58-year old Yelena Balikina. She said she had to close her business because of official restrictions.

"They stamp small business out with taxes and inspections," Balikina said. "And you have to pay bribes on every step."

In Vladivostok, where many residents make their living by trading in cars imported from nearby Japan, demonstrators protested the latest restrictive measures against foreign vehicles introduced by the authorities in a bid to protect local car makers.

Some also carried political placards, such as "Freedom of speech, freedom of elections!"

It all sounds a little too familiar.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, March 20th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Russians Rally Against Economic Policy”

  1. Helena says:

    “I came to this rally because it’s impossible to develop small business in this country,” said the 58-year old Yelena Balikina. She said she had to close her business because of official restrictions.”

    Horrifyingly familiar. And how strange we’ve heard almost nothing about how widespread the unhappiness is there.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Члены партии чая

    “Tea Party Member” in Russian

  3. MinnesotaRush says:

    “Many others blamed the government for red tape and rampant corruption that have stifled business.”

    “I came to this rally because it’s impossible to develop small business in this country,” said the 58-year old Yelena Balikina. She said she had to close her business because of official restrictions.”

    “They stamp small business out with taxes and inspections,” Balikina said. “And you have to pay bribes on every step.”

    SEE .. even the Russian government is doing the “Chicago Way” o-blah-blah style.


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