Dec 7, 2006

Russia: Stunt Protests and the Law

On December 6, Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that abolished minimum voter turnout (20 percent) for all elections in Russia. On Nov. 23, a week after the controversial bill was approved by the Duma, two young political activists - Ilya Yashin, the youth leader of Yabloko and Maria Gaidar, the daughter of Yegor Gaidar, the former Russian PM - protested the bill by spending an hour and a half suspended on ropes from a Moscow bridge facing the Kremlin and flying a 10-meter banner, which said: “GIVE THE ELECTION BACK TO THE PEOPLE, BASTARDS!”
They were detained by the police and fined 500 rubles (about $20) by the court – a pittance compared to the sentence of Olga Kudrina in May 2006, a member of Eduard Limonov’s National Bolshevik Party, who was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for climbing the Rossiya Hotel and hanging a banner saying “Putin, go away on your own” on the side facing the Kremlin.


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