You can’t punish people for exercising their rights

May 2, 2017

Today’s “Enough” demonstrations conducted by the Open Russia movement were a success. People attended in complete accordance with the law and had every right to deliver letters containing their demands to the presidential administration.

In the end, the Moscow authorities permitted citizens this right, and likewise in Kazan and in a number of other cities everything went smoothly, but overall across the country 200 people were arrested, in St. Petersburg alone over 100.

Why did this happen? It was a peaceful demonstration. I believe that the authorities in St. Petersburg have time and time again shown their inadequacy; the Moscow authorities, who are trying once again to stuff their pockets through their plan to demolish apartment blocks and forcefully relocate people, should also answer for their failures.

I hope that residents of Moscow will not miss the chance to demonstrate on the 14th of May in order to show the Moscow authorities that they cannot treat people like this.

Today our lawyers are providing support to all those who have been detained and I hope that the government and the courts will realise that these people were well within their rights to come out on to the streets to demonstrate. You cannot punish people for exercising their rights, and for trying to create dialogue between society and those in power.

The fundamental point of the demonstration was to demand Putin not run for a fourth presidential term. We see that 17 years in power is too much for one person. We see that Putin’s entourage has surrounded him completely; they are not holding back, they are seizing more and more for themselves.

The people in our country have no other way but to remove these people from power. What can Putin do about this? He can do this peacefully and constitutionally. Either way I am hoping he will decide to do this.

The Open Russia movement will continue its work to convince Putin and convince our fellow citizens that the president should not stand for a fourth term.