Can’t beat, join them

Protest>> Politics ÔÇó Russia

Published: Tuesday 31 July 2012

In March this year, when Vladmir Putin announced Russia’s new protest law, even the most optimist feared death of democracy. A resident of the Siberian city of Yekaterinburg has found a novel way to subvert the law: enlist the support of the authorities. Ostislav Zhuravlyov decided to inform his fellow, like-minded thinkers to join him on a tour of the city to enjoy the local surroundings. This was his way of getting the opposition together without being guilty of forming an opposition protest gathering.

Zhuravlyov wrote to the local authorities: “I would like to inform you of my intention to organise a onetime mass event on June 24, 2012, in which people will walk through public places in Yekaterinburg in order to view the city’s attractions.”

The authorities agreed and provided police escort. The “tour”, in which participants only talked politics, was caught on video and is now a hot item on YouTube. It has led other opposition members from across the nation to create other like-minded social events.

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