Around 10,000 people have joined some of Russia’s most famous writers and poets in an unconventional
protest. Organisers say their ‘stroll through
Moscow’ was an opportunity to hold a public gathering without permission.
It follows several arrests during a series of protests since President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration last Monday.
Best-selling Russian author Boris Akunin was one of the pioneers of the stroll:
“The meaning of this walk is to demonstrate to authorities that we don’t like how they’ve been treating us in the first few days of Vladimir Putin’s third term. If this is Putin version two, which has been promised to us for a long time, which we’ve been ‘seduced’ by, then we don’t need it. Let him change his behaviour or we won’t leave the streets.”
But some demonstators saw the stroll as a further opportunity to demand electoral reform:
“The recent elections were not fair or honest. We want there to be justice in the country, for the authorities to follow the law, for stop this Royal-like power succession. But also, today the weather is nice, wonderful writers have called everyone out for a walk, that’s why we’re here,” said protester Nina.
Commentators said there was a distinct lack of slogans and banners on this two kilometre stroll between the monuments for two classic Russian literary icons.
But fears that Moscow police would detain
protesters were unfounded. Officers even diverted traffic to ensure the safety of those taking part.