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Kaliningrad Protest Held Despite Warnings, Disinformation


Several opposition demonstrations have been held in Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad since December.

Several opposition demonstrations have been held in Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad since December.

CHERNYAKHOVSK, Russia -- Some 5,000 protesters gathered on February 28 in the Russian city of Chernyakhovsk, in Kaliningrad Oblast, to demand improvements in social services, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Vera Safonova, one of the protest organizers, told RFE/RL that the demonstration took place despite authorities' attempts to prevent it.

Safonova, the acting chairwoman of the Spravedlivost (Justice) movement's regional council, said some people distributed leaflets with incorrect information about where the rally would be held.

She added that some leaflets said the gathering had been cancelled. In addition, Safonova said some local employers warned their employees that they could be fired if they attended the protest.

The demonstrators met in the city center and urged municipal and regional authorities to improve the housing situation, lower taxes, and remedy the "worsening kindergarten system."

Several opposition demonstrations have been held in Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad since December.

Opposition groups in the oblast announced today that they are planning a mass protest on March 20 in the regional capital, Kaliningrad.

Safonova said activists from Chernyakhovsk and the region's other towns and districts will join the protest.

Chernyakhovsk, which was the German city of Insterburg until it was transferred to the Soviet Union after World War II, has a population of some 45,000 people.
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