Moscow denies permit for March 5 opposition rally

There are several things Russians know. First, Vladimir Putin will win the presidential election. Call it fore-ordination or whatever you’d like, but he will win. Second, opposition groups have been emboldened since December and will protest the voting results. Third, Vladimir Putin as president is likely to take a dimmer view on opposition rallies than out-going president Dmitry Medvedev.

So predictably, Moscow city officials have denied opposition requests to hold a rally at Manezh Square on March 5, one day after the presidential vote. Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov said Tuesday that permission had been denied for a Manezh Square rally, likely because the Square is next to the Kremlin.

Opposition leader and anti-corruption lawyer/blogger Alexei Navalny posted on his blog that demonstrators should gather at Moscow’s Lubyanskaya Plaza on March 5 despite the refusal of a permit by city officials. Lubyanka is the site of the old KGB headquarters and prison and today is home to the FSB, the successor to the KGB.

Moscow City Hall has offered a couple of alternative locations outside the city centre, one being Poklonnaya Gora the site of Moscow’s popular “Victory Park” and the scene of a pro-Putin rally recently.

In the final week leading up to Sunday’s vote there seems to be no end to the social media campaigning from both sides as witnessed on this YouTube video.