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Police and Activists Clash at Kupchino Rally

In a statement released last week, Other Russia said that the march would be held whether it was authorized or not.

Published: February 19, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • OMON riot police encircle anti-privatization demonstrators near the Mezhdunarodnaya metro station on Saturday, Feb. 15.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Police shut down the unauthorized March for the Review of Privatization Results that opposition groups attempted to hold on Saturday, Feb. 15 in Kupchino, a bedroom community in southern St. Petersburg. 26 activists were arrested. The detained protesters, mostly from the unregistered Other Russia party, reported police brutality and unusual nighttime hearings.

At about 2 p.m. on Saturday, OMON riot police wearing helmets with darkened visors surrounded the protesters as they prepared to march and raised red Other Russia flags.

Another group of OMON policemen began leading the activists away singly and in pairs, escorting them to a waiting police vehicle parked some 50 meters away.

As they were being taken to the police bus, the activists shouted “Russia without oligarchs,” “Give back oil and gas to the people,” “Shame” and “Fascism will not pass.” At one point, a 10-meter-long black banner reading “Officials serve the oligarchs” was lowered from the roof of the nine-storey pre-fabricated building, popularly known as the house where Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev grew up across the street from the site of the protest.

From within the police vehicle, several detained activists shouted about a “fat policeman without a badge” who had reportedly assaulted the protesters inside the bus. They also said that pepper spray had been used inside the vehicle against two activists. Officers were seen twisting the arms of some activists and pushing others to the muddy ground.

One of the activists, Sergei Chekunov, was taken to a hospital with a dislocated shoulder but later returned to police custody.

“Two OMON policemen first dropped him in the mud for some reason, then handcuffed him and twisted his arms nearly to the breaking point and hit him on the head,” the Other Russia’s local chairman Andrei Dmitriyev told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday.

“One policeman also sprayed pepper spray into the face of two activists. Things like that do not happen at Strategy 31 [rallies in support of the right of assembly] and it’s not clear why they behaved in this way. There has been some speculation that the officers were from Pskov, because the local OMON riot police are in Sochi, but it’s only a rumor.”

Announced by leader of the Other Russia and author Eduard Limonov in November 2013, the March for the Review of Privatization Results was sanctioned as a stationary assembly in Moscow. In St. Petersburg, City Hall reportedly declined every submission for a rally made by the organizers.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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