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Russian Communists Hold Protest Marking Putsch's 20th Anniversary

BIISK -- More than 100 activists have protested about poor social services in the southwestern Russian city of Biisk, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
The rally, "Twenty Years Without the U.S.S.R.," was organized by the local Communist Party. The protesters held signs with slogans against the social policies of the federal and local governments.
The activists also distributed black balloons to passersby that they said symbolize the mood of the Russian population in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Twenty years ago on August 19, a group of conservative Soviet officials tried to take power to end reforms initiated by President Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup failed and many consider that event as the beginning of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The protesters in Biisk also adopted a resolution addressed to President Dmitry Medvedev. They expressed their distrust of the ruling United Russia party and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's government.
The protesters also demanded that all officials in the Biisk mayor's office involved in a recent corruption scandal should step down.
Biisk Mayor Anatoly Mosievsky was recently found guilty of abuse of office and resigned.
Biisk is a city of some 210,000 people in the Altai Krai, near the border with northeastern Kazakhstan.

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