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Anti-War Protest Leads to Arrests, Violence

One demonstrator was seen in a police vehicle displaying a sheet of paper bearing the Soviet slogan Peace to the world.

Published: March 5, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • Two anti-war protesters being taken into custody by police at a rally in front of St. Isaacs Cathedral Sunday.
    Photo: Sergey Chernoc / SPT

Concerned citizens gathered to protest Russias military involvement in Ukraine on St. Isaacs Square Sunday. The protesters found themselves under attack by men wearing Cossack costumes or hats, and OMON riot police. Some of those gathered were beaten, pelted with excrement and insulted by pro-Kremlin opponents, while more than 30 were detained, most without obvious cause.

The Legislative Assemblys opposition deputies Maxim Reznik and Olga Galkina arrived near the Mariinsky Palace, the seat of the Legislative Assembly, to announce the creation of an anti-war committee and invited those gathered to sign a statement of intent.

Related: Local Activists Protest in Kiev

However, when reaching the gardens opposite St. Isaacs Cathedral, where hundreds had already assembled, Reznik urged people to leave due to the presence of pro-Kremlin agitators and the threat of imminent arrests.

Reznik invited them to the Field of Mars the following week, by which time he said he would secure authorization for a rally from city authorities. Reznik said the authorized protest there would be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 8. He left soon after, but people remained in the gardens.

Several policemen walked among the crowd announcing that the event was illegal through a megaphone and warning the assembled of their responsibility and that arrests would follow for failing to obey police orders. The officers did not respond to questions as to which statues the gathering allegedly violated or which police orders were being referred to.

A number of protesters had sheets of paper or placards reading No to fratricidal war, I have relatives in Kiev. I dont want them to be killed. No to war! Stop the war. Leave Ukraine in peace, Putin, dont heat up! People of Russia and Ukraine refuse to die for your imperial ambitions and your oligarchs vested interests. Stop the intervention!

A number of men, some dressed as Cossacks, were quick to assault the protesters and destroy the placards, while deputy Vitaly Milonov, who has made a number of anti-Ukrainian statements since the Euro Maidan protests began in Kiev in November 2013, was seen walking around the gardens insulting protesters.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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