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March of Millions Seeks Approval as Strategy-31 Suppressed

From left, activists Dmitry Gudkov, Sergei Udaltsov, Yevgenia Chirikova, Boris Nemstov and Gennady Gudkov at an opposition rally on June 12. Igor Tabakov

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov said Friday that an application to hold a March of Millions had been filed with City Hall, the same day that an unsanctioned Strategy-31 rally ended in dozens of arrests.

The Other Russia's Eduard Limonov and about 30 other demonstrators were detained soon after arriving at Triumfalnaya Ploshchad for Strategy-31, held on the 31st of every month with so many days to honor the Constitution's Article 31, the right to free assembly.

The rally has almost never been approved by City Hall, and partakers are often arrested.

Some 80 people attended Friday's event in Moscow and another 15 in St. Petersburg. But besides Limonov, no other opposition leader attended. More are expected at the March of Millions next week.

The march will be the first major opposition event since a peaceful procession around the Boulevard Ring on June 12 that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators who denounced the rule of President Vladimir Putin.

The event will test the opposition's ability to draw large crowds into the streets again after a summer hiatus from mass protests.

Udaltsov wrote on Twitter that an application had been submitted to City Hall at 8 a.m. Friday for a March of Millions along Tverskaya Ulitsa and Mokhovaya Ulitsa next to the Kremlin. He wrote that the application had stipulated a maximum of 50,000 participants for the event to be held Saturday, Sept. 15.

A statement by the Left Front movement said anti-government protests could be held in 50 to 60 cities across Russia on the same day.

Opposition leaders have applied before to hold protests on Tverskaya Ulitsa and other venues close to the Kremlin, and City Hall has always told them to pick a different location.

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