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Russian lawmakers want to restrict all protests to designated zones

Source: Kommersant

The senators who make up Russia’s Federation Council State Sovereignty Defense Commission don’t want citizens demonstrating willy-nilly. According to the newspaper Kommersant, members of the commission are preparing legislation that will “specify requirements for the locations of political rallies.” In other words, lawmakers want to set boundaries for political protests, demarcating areas where they are allowed and where they are strictly prohibited.

According to Senator Lyudmila Bokova, the legislation would lead to every city designating assigned zones where protests are allowed, banning these public assemblies anywhere else.

There are already significant restrictions in Russia on where protests are legally permitted. For example, demonstrations are forbidden at certain distances from schools, courthouses, and industrial facilities.

In some cities, like Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are so-called “hyde parks” — typically remote areas where activists can stage public events without permission from the local authorities (though they are still required to provide advance notice).

The Federation Council’s State Sovereignty Defense Commission has been active since 2017. The group has previously published a report accusing the United States of interfering in other countries’ domestic affairs, and advocated designating all foreign Russian-language media outlets as “foreign agents.”