Pioneer Square, Petersburg, December 10, 2011. Rally for Fair Elections
“You can’t even imagine (represent) us”
Ksenia Yermoshina, student activist:
The BBC’s Richard Galpin spoke to Danil Klubov, a student, who said he joined the protesters in St Petersburg because he was “tired of all the falsehoods and lies.” Mr Klubov also said that many of those who took to the streets wanted President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to stand down.
Here is a 35-minute video from the rally that opens, alarmingly, with an appearance by someone identified by emcee Sergei Gulyaev as “Semyon Pikselyov, National Democrats.” Semyon begins his speech with the words, “Glory to Russia!” Unaccountably, Pikselyov is followed on stage by Artemy Troitsky, rock music critic and promoter, who appeals for prominent Petersburg cultural figures such as Boris Grebenshchikov and Mikhail Piotrovsky (director of the State Hermitage Museum, who ran as a “steam engine” on United Russia’s party list during the scandalous elections, but then promptly declined his mandate a couple days later) to go over to the opposition. Interestingly for someone who shared the stage with a “national democrat” (i.e., a fascist), Troitsky is the son of Kiva Maidanik, who was a prominent Soviet and Russian expert on Latin America, and a friend of many Latin American leftist revolutionaries. [Correction: Although the “national democrat” in question was clearly identified by Gulyaev as “Semyon Pikselyov” and is also named as such in the annotation to the video linked to, above, a reader has pointed out that his real name is Semyon Pikhtelyov. Pikhtelyov is the leader of the Petersburg branch of DPNI, the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, a radical nationalist group. An article in yesterday’s edition of Kommersant Saint Petersburg claims that during the “march” from site of the originally planned “illegal” demonstration, Insurrection Square, to the venue for the “authorized” rally pictured here, the largest group (“approximately half a thousand people”) was led by Pikhtelyov. This group allegedly chanted “All for one, and one for all!” and “Onward, Russians!” (that is, “ethnic” Russians, not citizens of Russia) as they marched.]
Demonstrators make their way to the rally from Insurrection Square, site of the “illegal” demo originally planned (via the social network VKontakte) for the day.