Confusion surrounds protest plans against Russia’s constitutional changes as Libertarian organizers step away
A request for official permission to organize a protest against Russia’s newly proposed constitutional reforms has been withdrawn from Moscow City Hall, Novaya Gazeta and MBK Media reported. The permit for a February 1 protest had already been granted, and the request’s post-acceptance withdrawal added to confusion caused by the fact that the organizers of the planned protest were unknown until yesterday.
Those organizers, it turns out, belong to the Libertarian Party, which has gained a reputation for attempting to mediate between the government and opposition groups where protests are concerned. Igor Yefremov, one of the party’s members, said his group submitted a protest permit request “just in case, to leave ourselves room to hold a protest if the topic resonates widely enough.”
On the very same day that the application was submitted, Moscow City Hall announced that it had approved a protest of up to 10,000 people opposed to the country’s new constitutional reforms. It did not reveal the Libertarian Party’s involvement in the plan at the time.
Of the group’s decision not to take up the mayor’s office on a rare protest acceptance, Yefremov said, “We’ve decided to take time to think without announcing the protest immediately because we weren’t sure it was worth organizing. Ultimately, we decided that it would be more rational to decline to hold [the protest],” Yefremov told MBK Media.