On February 20, organizers of the planned anti-crisis rally “Spring” held a news conference in which they announced that they’d reached an agreement with Moscow authorities to move the rally from the city center to the outskirts of Moscow. The demonstration is scheduled for March 1 and is expected to include nearly 100,000 people.

 

 

Prior to the February 20 news conference announcing the relocation of the upcoming anti-crisis rally “Spring,” Open Russia Foundation founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is also a co-organizer of the anti-crisis rally, posted a statement on his website. In it, he emphasized that “War is the worst method to resolve problems... this military conflict comes in direct contradiction with Russia’s interests. It is the source of economic, social, and legal problems.” He also stated, “I’m certain that the Russian citizens are against the war.” He believes that the “march is set to provide people with a chance to feel solidarity and to openly speak about views, as well as the need to promptly end the conflict and to return to the path of openness and development.”

The speakers at the news conference included Vladimir Kara-Murza (Open Russia), Boris Nemtsov (RPR-PARNAS), Sergey Davidis (The 5th of December Party), Vladimir Milov (Democratic Choice Party), and Yekaterinburg opposition activist Leonid Volkov.

The rally coordinators chose to compromise with Moscow authorities and hold the demonstration in the remote neighborhood of Maryino, instead of the initially proposed Tverskaya Street, mere feet from the Kremlin. Rather than quarrel with the authorities, the activists decided to focus on preparations for the rally instead. Boris Nemtsov noted that “Maryino is no worse than other Moscow neighborhoods. Its residents have been hit by the economic crisis and the war no less than any other Moscovites.”

Open Russia coordinator Vladimir Kara-Murza emphasized the importance of massive public demonstrations, saying, “One of our key goals is to restore the space for independent and fair public discussions of what is going on.”

The rally is meant to be anti-crisis and anti-war. Its major goals are the resignation of the president and his administration and an end to the war in Ukraine. The organizers also demand fair elections; an end to pro-government propaganda in the media; the abolition of censorship; the release of political prisoners; judicial system reforms; and the decentralization of the government. Its social and economic goals include the abolition of counter-sanctions on EU food imports; cuts in military expenditures; an end to the confiscation of Russian pensions; the end of subsidies to state-owned enterprises; and redistribution of tax revenue toward the provinces.

Another rally coordinator and opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, will be unable to participate in the rally, as he was arrested for leafleting on February 15 and placed under detention for fifteen days.

The anti-crisis march is planned to take place in fifteen cities across Russia. In Moscow, it is scheduled to last from 2:30–4 p.m. on March 1. The procession’s route stretches from the intersection of Novomaryinskaya and Belorechenskaya streets to the intersection of Lyublinskaya and Pererva streets.

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