Such is the state of freedom of assembly in Russia. Late today a protest was to be held in Moscow to encourage the government to accept...and I can't make this up...the right of people to assemble freely. But police have begun to cordon off the square where the rally is to be held.
Meanwhile, a protest the government has not approved also is to be held. But in advance of that, an opposition political leader was arrested. As RIANovosti reports,
The opposition leader of The Other Russia, Eduard Limonov, told Ekho Moskvy radio station that he has been detained ahead of a protest scheduled on Moscow's center Triumfalnaya Square on Friday.
Limonov, who was preparing to join an unsanctioned protest on the square, said he has been taken to a local police station for a "prophylactic discussion."You'll recall that earlier this week a number of people were detained as they protested the guilty verdict of oilman Mikhail Khodorkovsky and one of his business partners. The government has said little about those protesters, but it has consistently criticized the West for interfering in Russia's domestic affairs.
Yes, the West is meddling in Russia's affairs, and, yes, it has the right to do so. Just as President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are responsible to their citizens, so too are Western leaders to theirs. And to remain silent on the Khodorkovsky verdict would be unacceptable.
UPDATE: Updating another story from Russia -- remember the air travel fiascoes earlier this week at Moscow's two major airports? Well, today, that incompetence was placed at the doorstep of the deputy head (!!!!) of Aeroflot.