Despite the ban, human rights activists will hold a meeting in memory of the Victims of Beslan at the Solovky Stone on Lubyanka


Beslan will be remembered at the Solovky Stone

Human rights organizations intend to defy the ban imposed by the capital’s authorities and hold a gathering at the Solovky Stone on Lubyanka Square in Moscow in memory of the Victims of Beslan. The organizers of the picket are convinced that the main opponent is in fact the Federal Security Service [FSB]. 

The human rights movement “For human rights”, the party “Yabloko” and the Moscow section of the SPS [Union of Right Forces] plan to meet at 1 o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday 3 September at Solovky Stone on Lubyanka and hold their meeting in memory of the tragedy at Beslan.  The time and place are of crucial significance to the organizers of this action. It was at exactly 1 o’clock two years ago that the storm of the school in Beslan began, and it was precisely the FSB, the human rights activists believe, which incompetently planned this storm.

The application to hold this meeting was handed to the prefecture of the Central District of the capital back on 19 July.  However permission was refused. The first refusal in the prefecture was justified by the preparation for and holding on 3 September of “festive capital events”. The second gave the reason as being the impossibility of guaranteeing safety at the place of the meeting.

“The state made a rather interesting move”, the Head of the Sakharov Memorial Museum and Centre Yury Samodurov said in a Radio Svoboda interview. . “It officially declared this day to be a Day of Solidarity with the victims of terrorism. Yet in that case it is most fitting that people who feel that they are not being told the truth to express their opinion about what happened and to demand that the truth not be hushed up.  That in essence is the aim of our picket. The suggestion by the prefecture to hold it on another day was a cynical trick. The authorities can’t reconcile themselves with the fact that the Memorial to victims of the totalitarian regime is opposite the building of the FSB. For the FSB, that’s like a knife thrust in the heart”. 

Human rights activists believe that it is the Federal Security Service whose premises are next to the Memorial to the Victims of Political Repression that is stopping them from getting permission to hold a picket at the Solovky Stone. 

The organizer of the picket, leader of the human rights movement “For human rights”, Lev Ponomaryov notes: “We know definitely that the Day of the City ends in Moscow on 2 September. This means we are dealing with an inept and legally incorrect refusal which is without doubt unlawful. I know this pattern. The FSB simply does not sign the agreement form, and by law the authorities have to agree permits for holding such actions with all enforcement bodies. It’s another question, who is actually in charge in the city.  The FSB has the right to some kinds of refusals, but it isn’t even in charge of the pavement outside  its own premises which are controlled by the city.. And by law only the city has the right to allow or ban any political meeting”.

Human rights activists do not exclude the possibility that there will be conflict with law enforcement bodies during the picket, but this does not stop them. “We will most definitely come to this picket”, Lev Ponomaryov affirms. “Exercising our legitimate constitutional right, we will come out on 3 September to the Solovky Stone. And I understand that there will also be those who support us, and the United Civic Front, “Yabloko” and SPS.”

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