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Russian Anti-Corruption Rallies

Activists all across
Russia face resistance from the authorities in organizing rallies
against corruption, inspired by opposition politician Alexei
Navalny’s recent investigation alleging Russian Prime Minister
Dmitry Medvedev is taking bribes in the form of yachts and lavish
mansions. 

Rallies, pickets and
demonstrations, according to Navalny, are supposed to take place in
100 Russian cities, including Moscow, on March 26. 

In Moscow, the City
Hall refused to authorize the protest on the very central Tverskaya
Ulitsa; however, Navalny claimed, in their official response
authorities didn’t directly ban the event and didn’t offer
alternative areas for it, which, according to a 2013 Constitutional
Court ruling means the rally can be considered automatically
authorized. 

“I urge you to
join [the protest],” Navalny wrote in his newsletter two days ahead
of the rally. “If we keep silent and stay home, they will continue
to rob us.”
On Thursday, Moscow
police have called on people to ignore the rally – since it isn’t
authorized, the police maintained, they won’t be able to ensure
security. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Navalny’s
persistence “a provocation.”

In other Russian
cities authorities were also reluctant to authorize rallies in
pickets. They explain their refusal to authorize protests in
prominent parts of cities with other events taking place there, last
minute and urgent maintenance works and the fact that organizers of
the anti-corruption protest violate the law with their defamatory
allegations.

Navalny decided to hold the rally after allegations of bribe-taking by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were not widely reported in the media.  

Russia’s
Anti-Corruption Foundation, an NGO created by Navalny in 2011, accused
Medvedev on March 2 of collecting bribes through charitable
organizations run by close friends and former classmates. 

The organization claimed that Medvedev owns four mansions across the country, each worth several million dollars. Other alleged holdings include two large plots
of land in Krasnodar, an Italian vineyard and a lavish residential
building in the heart of St. Petersburg with luxurious apartments and
two yachts. 
The Kremlin has refused to comment on the claims.

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