Based on the number from this Sunday’s march, 13 January 2013, those who thought that Russia’s opposition had run out of steam may have misread the mood of the country. In a sign that the country may be finding recent events burdensome, marches in cities outside of Moscow also claimed significant numbers of protestors. It is estimated that some 20,000+ protestors took to the cold streets to shout “shame on the Scum” to show their displeasure with Russia’s ruling government.
The event was billed as the March Against the Jerks and of course those being labeled as scum were the politicians who voted foe the adoption law, called the Dima Yakovlev law for the young boy who died while in the custody of American adoptive parents. The Russian Parliament (Duma) recently passed a law which bans the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans. The law was promptly signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
We begin coverage with scenes from Moscow where the march took place starting at Pushkinskaya Square along the Boulevard Ring and concluded on the square at Sakharov Prospekt.:
Unlike last year’s protests, this march had no stage at the ending point and no speeches by opposition leaders. Leaders of the opposition were there to be sure, rallying their followers with bullhorns, but as Natalia Antonova of the Guardian newspaper group (UK) observed on the absence of political speeches, “…this was a good thing. The problem of finding new homes for orphans in Russia will not be solved by shouting slogans.”
Thousands of signs bearing the photos of Parliament ministers who had voted for the new law read Позор which means “shame” in Russian.
Petitions opposing the law were available and newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that thousands were signed during the protest march.
Meanwhile in Russia’s “northern capital” of Saint Petersburg the numbers of marchers was estimated between 6,000 and 10,000 citizen protestors.
New Year trees remained standing and decorated. Russians celebrate the “old new year” on 14 January, the official end of public New Year and Christmas holidays.
In both of Russia’s major capitals thousands of Interior Ministry troops were on hand to contain the government sanctioned protest route.