Vasilievsky Slope Is Closed

Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree which, effectively, prohibits public meetings on the Vasilievsky Slope, a square near the Kremlin and a popular place of political gatherings. Just last month the opposition tried to organise here the mass rally ‘For Fair Elections’.

The decree adds the square to the territory of the Moscow Kremlin, a complex of buildings at the heart of Moscow and the official residence of the President. From now on any public event on the Vasilievsky Slope must be approved by the President.

Yet Dmitry Medvedev went even further than that: the decision making has become a complex and protracted process.

Few bodies can submit a formal request: the Government, the Federation Council, the State Duma, the supreme courts, the Moscow mayor and the Presidential Office. Individuals, non-governmental organizations or political parties are not included in this list.

The request must be filed no later than three months in advance and before that Federal Protective Service, which protects the President, must give its consent.