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Moscow Officials To Discuss Approving 'Strategy 31' Protest

Police detain participants of an unauthorized rally on the Triumph Square on August 31.
Police detain participants of an unauthorized rally on the Triumph Square on August 31.
MOSCOW -- The Moscow mayor's office has agreed to hold talks on the possibility of officially sanctioning a "Strategy 31" demonstration in the Russian capital, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

An agreement to discuss the conditions for an approved protest for some 800 people was reached at a meeting on October 25 between representatives from the mayor's office and an organizer of the demonstration, Moscow Helsinki Group Chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva.

Another organizer of the Strategy 31 campaign, opposition activist Eduard Limonov, told RFE/RL that he, Alekseyeva, and a leader of the Left Front movement, Konstantin Kosyakin, would meet to discuss the offer from the mayor's office.

On October 18, opposition groups and human rights activists in Moscow formally applied for permission to hold a gathering of some 1,500 activists on the city's Triumph Square on October 31.

Strategy 31 is a campaign that supports freedom of assembly -- which is theoretically guaranteed by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution -- by holding demonstrations on the 31st day of the months with that many days.

The campaign was launched last year by Limonov, a leader of the Other Russia opposition coalition. Other opposition groups and rights activists joined later.

All previous 11 attempts to hold a Strategy 31 gathering on Triumph Square were thwarted by city authorities, with police using force to disperse would-be participants.

Last week the Moscow mayor's office offered the organizers of the gathering approval to hold their rally not far from the Pekin (Beijing) Restaurant with a smaller number of participants.

Opposition activist Aleksandr Averin told RFE/RL last week that after the sacking of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in September, there was hope that this month permission would formally be granted for the gathering.