Russian MiniLessons: Акции протеста в России – Protests in Russia

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The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

Article 31 of The Russian Constitution states that граждане Российской Федерации  имеют право собираться мирно без оружия, проводить собрания, митинги и демонстрации, шествия и пикетирование.

While many of the articles of Russia’s constitution state specifically that условия и порядок определяются на основе федерального закона, there is a basic understanding in practice that all constitutional rights may be regulated.Post-Soviet-Conflict-Banner

Indeed, Russians’ constitutional right to public meetings is regulated by Федеральный закон Российской Федерации от 19 июня 2004 г. N 54-ФЗ «О собраниях, митингах, демонстрациях, шествиях и пикетированиях». According to the law, one person or a group can act as the организатор публичного мероприятия, and anyone who is at least 16 years old имеет право организовывать демонстрации , шествия and  пикетирование.

Also, the организатор публичного мероприятия can be a политическая партия, or другие общественные объединения и религиозные объединения, and их региональные отделения.

These people or groups are authorized to проводить митинги, демонстрации  в местах и во время, которые указаны в уведомлении о проведении публичного мероприятия. Such уведомление should be в письменной форме , and should be подано/предоставлено  to the local authorities no later than 10 days before the event, or, in case of picketing, 3 days.

The law does not state that the authorities must be notified about protests or rallies. Neither does the law state that a несанкционированный митинг can or must be прекращен  by the police. According to the law, a rally or a demonstration must be postponed if any нарушение правопорядка occurs; if such a violation poses a threat to the life and health of citizens or to their property, the rally or demonstration must be ceased.

However, in practice, all the forms of public meetings are often прекращены and organizers are often told that they must meet at a different location or time – or, in the case of gay pride parades, for instance, are simply told that they cannot meet at all. The authorities have often used the excuse that the event would pose a threat to protestors’ health and lives because of the likelihood that such an event would be broken up forcibly by violent nationalists as a counter-demonstration.

After подача уведомления, protest organizers have the right to агитация через СМИ for the event and cause. They can also размещать объявления в блоге  or раздавать листовки .

At the protest, participants can be engaged in a variety of activities: произносить речи, скандировать, or держать лозунги. Протестующие are entitled to организовывать сбор добровольных пожертвований. They can also use звукоусиливающие технические средства , such as a мегафон, which is colloquially called a матюгальник in Russian.

Sometimes, protests have элементы театрализованного шоу. At the protest on Sakharova Prospect in Moscow on December 24, some participants свистели with whistles issued to them by organizers, some came dressed in various costumes and masks, and some attendees привязывали свои лозунги к воздушному шару и запускали его в воздух.

At the protests of the so-called несистемная оппозиция, such as their rallies at Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow, participants били в барабаны. Several years ago, hundreds of participants of the youth movement Nashi dressed as Santa Clauses and Snowmaidens for their pro-government rally. Communists frequently играть советские песни at their demonstrations.

At the end of a rally or a demonstration, participants зачитывать резолюцию. For example, at the protest for fair elections at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on December 10, the organizers worked out the following resolutions: “1.) немедленное освобождение всех политзаключённых; 2.) отмена итогов сфальсифицированных выборов; 3.) отставка Чурова и расследование его деятельности; 4.) регистрация оппозиционных партий; and 5.) проведение новых и честных выборов .

The resolution is then accepted by a largely nominal voice vote.

About the Author

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad and Challenge Grant scholarship writing programs.

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life, Worldpress.org, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an MA from St. Petersburg State in International Relations. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource. He additionally helps coordinate activities for our students in Moscow.