Activists: Novosibirsk Is Russia’s Most Restrictive City For Rallies

Public demonstrations and other similar activities are banned over more than half of the territory of Russia’s third-largest city, Novosibirsk, rights activists say.

The OVD-Info nongovernmental human-rights project, which monitors law-enforcement activity across Russia, reported on January 12 that its analysis of Novosibirsk’s regulations on public demonstrations revealed that such activity is barred over 56 percent of the city’s area.

The city’s regulations on demonstrations forbid them near all administrative buildings, as well as near “objects of public safety and communications” and “objects of social infrastructure.”

By comparison, OVD-Info reported, demonstrations are banned on 2 percent of Moscow’s territory, 5 percent of St. Petersburg’s, and 25 percent of Yekaterinburg’s.

Although Russia’s constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, the government requires that public demonstrations be approved in advance by local authorities, a requirement activists say is often used to ban opposition events.

Russia is in the midst of a presidential-election campaign that will culminate in a vote on March 18. President Vladimir Putin, who has ruled Russia as president or prime minister since 2000, is widely expected to be awarded a fourth term by the heavily managed ballot.

Read the Russian version of this story