A group of human rights activists gathered at the Mykovsakaya metro station in Moscow to reaffirm their right to openly protest only to be met by police who assaulted dozens of people and arrested even more. Police admitted to having detained 152 protestors in order to make clear that in democratic Russia the right to protest is a sacred one. The crackdown came two days after Prime Minister Vladmir Putin told a meeting of intellectuals that he firmly supported the right of protest, of course, as long as such demonstrations did not hinder the rights of other people. Monday’s demonstration which, not only was held in Moscow, but in other cities was an effort to find out if Putin was speaking the truth about the right to openly protest. According to one analyst, Tatyana Stanovaya, “Putin voiced the long-time position of the federal authorities. It is up to regional authorities whether to allow a rally or not.”
Let me get this clear. It is up to “regional authorities” as to whether people can rally. One would assume regional authorities in the city of Moscow could check with the prime minister in order to make certain they agree with his views on the right to rally. But, then again, this is Putin Russia.