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Local Demonstrations Continue Over Ukraine

Published: March 19, 2014 (Issue # 1802)



  • Two protesters in front of Kazan Cathedral on Mar. 15 address what they see as an information war being raged over Ukraine.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

The police allowed a protest against Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on Mar. 15 despite City Hall’s refusal to authorize the gathering. Held near the Kazan Cathedral on the eve of the Crimean referendum on joining Russia, the protest drew between 500 and 600 people.

Unlike an unauthorized rally on St. Isaac’s Square on Mar. 2, where more than 30 people were detained and charged with violating the laws regulating rallies and failing to obey police orders, arrests were few at Kazan Cathedral.

The protesters attribute the small number of arrests to the presence of St. Petersburg ombudsman Alexander Shishlov and the Legislative Assembly’s Yabloko deputy Boris Vishnevsky, who negotiated with the chief of the St. Petersburg Public Security Police, Col. Alexei Smyatsky, who was the ranking officer at the site.

“I went because I had to,” Vishnevsky told The St. Petersburg Times on Monday.

“If I am a deputy and a representative of my people; I had to be with my people on that square. I also had to negotiate with the police so that they would not break up the rally simply because it had not been authorized. I think ombudsman Alexander Shishlov and I managed to do this. I think the police acted in an almost exemplary way,” Vishnevsky said.

“I have very good impressions of the protest. The only thing [I regret] is that there were so few of us. I had hopes that there would be more people in the city who were emphatically against what is happening now,” he added.

Displaying placards at unauthorized protests frequently leads to arrest, and while some people did so, others expressed their position in other ways.

Related: Local Protesters Acquitted in Maidan Event

Some wore yellow and blue ribbons representing the colors of the Ukrainian flag, while others wore yellow-and-blue buttons reading, “No to War.” One young woman with fingernails painted yellow and blue was expressively reading from George Orwell’s novel “1984,” while a man wore a coat which had the words “Down with War, Up with Rock and Roll” painted on it.

One woman held a placard with a quote from 19th century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, while another pinned to her chest a sheet reading “The annexation of Crimea is the road to war and a threat of fascism.” Another man held a placard reading “Stop” and “Shame on Warmongers.” One placard seen at the rally bore a biblical quote: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” another, “Lies, Censorship and Violence. What Will We Bring to Crimea?”

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



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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