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Hundreds March Down Nevsky in Protest

Published: May 7, 2014 (Issue # 1809)



  • LGBT marchers joined the parade down Nevsky Prospekt on May 1.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

  • The LGBT contingent was led by a man in a red dress wearing a large papier-mache head of Putin with a crown.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Hundreds of protesters marched along St. Petersburgs main street, Nevsky Prospekt, on May 1, to protest against the Kremlins actions in Ukraine. The protest was held as part of the May Day demonstrations which traditionally features a broad political spectrum of protests from animal rights activists to neo-Nazis, but most were pro-Kremlin parties and movements such as United Russia, Just Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Police estimate that up to 37,000 people participated in the various marches along Nevsky, mostly from parties and movements loyal to the Kremlin. The different political groups marched at a distance from each other, separated by police and then went on to hold stationary rallies at different sites in central St. Petersburg.

The main slogan written on the Anti-War Democratic Marchs banner, which was carried by the front row of the protesters, said For Friendship with Ukraine and the European Integration of Russia. No to U.S.S.R. 2.0.

Protesters carried placards proclaiming For Democracy in Russia and Ukraine, War Is Madness, Putin. God Sees Everything. Stop, Ukraine, God Is on Your Side and Putin, Leave Ukraine Alone, Better Feed Our Old People and Children.

Organized by the Democratic St. Petersburg coalition, the Anti-War Democratic March drew between 1,000 and 1,500 protesters, organizer Natalya Tsymbalova said. Protesters included those from the Yabloko Democratic Party, human rights groups, Free Ingria group and LGBT rights groups. The protesters also carried small Russian, Ukrainian and European Union flags.

Tsymbalova considered the number to be large for St. Petersburg. I think its a lot, because fewer people have attended in previous years, she told The St. Petersburg Times.

The protesters also marched to music blared from a vehicle in front of the group. The musical pieces included the national anthem of Ukraine, the Patriotic Song by Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, which served as the national anthem of Russia until it was abolished by President Vladimir Putin in 2000, and Beethovens Ode to Joy, the national anthem of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

According to Tsymbalova, city authorities did not object to the slogans used during the march and the subsequent stationary rally, even after City Hall had twice refused to authorize the rally ahead of May 1. However, this happens every time. They just want to show whos the boss, whos the one who issues permits, she said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



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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