The procession in Moscow started on Red Square. Those who came to the demonstration carried the flags of Russia, the city of Moscow, one of the organizers – the party of “United Russia”, as well as the symbolism of the various trade union movements in Russia, in Moscow and the Moscow region.
The procession involved a large number of students, representatives of different professions, many of them held banners with the names of their organizations and multi-colored banners. The Metropolitan Police reported that the event was attended by about 140 thousand people.
On May Day, the Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin addresed the city. “Although it is not very good weather and there is talk of a crisis, people are in a good mood. Muscovites are generally hardworking, energetic people. They are not accustomed to surrender” – said Sobyanin.
“Moscow in its history has experienced many different crises, but we always have come out of them even stronger, even more beautiful. So it will be this time. On this holiday, I want to congratulate everyone for May 1st, a holiday of spring and labor. Each year, the good old tradition to come out to the May 1st demonstration is gaining momentum, “- the mayor jubilantly said to Muscovites.
The organizers – the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia and the Moscow Federation of Trade Unions – had previously announced that the procession, which began at 10am Moscow time, and would be attended by at least 120 thousand people. The rally and march culminated on Red Square. This expectation was surpassed.
According to the leader of the FNPR Mikhail Shmakov, it was decided to revive the forgotten slogan of the May Day demonstrations of “Peace! Work! May!” “It’s fundamental values that are essential for everyone. Save the world – this is important.”- he explained.
Another key action will be the motto of “A rise in prices – a doubling of wages!”
The intention to join the trade union march was previously stated by representatives of the Popular Front and the “United Russia”, who share common goals. Vice-Speaker of the State Duma, deputy secretary of the General Council of United Russia’s Andrei Isayev called on all party members to “take to the streets to defend their rights and to state their demands.”
In total, according to the head of FNPR, on May 1st trade union rallies and events were held in more than 600 cities and regional centers across the country, with more than 2.5 million having taken part.May Day marches and rallies were organized independently of “United Russia” as well. In Moscow, Communist Party supporters marched from Kaluzhskaya Square to hold a rally at the traditional gathering place – at the monument to Karl Marx. The leitmotif of the shares of the Communist Party will “Protest Against Attempts to Falsify History,” “Support for the People of Donbass”, “People’s Control over Prices and Utility Tariffs.” The Communists sent forward their Komsomol, who carried traditional banners and symbols.
The demonstration of the opposition “Fair Russia” as well as the ”Liberal Democrats” were based in St. Petersburg. Supporters of the party “Fair Russia” at 10 am, gathered on Nevsky Prospekt and sang the song “Forward, Russia”. Demands were concise and predictable: increase of salaries, pensions, stipends, as well as reducing food prices.
“Fair Russia” decided to move the May Day demonstration from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, Nevsky Prospekt. The campaign will be held under the slogan “Working people, the pensioners and the poor in Russia should not be poor,” “Income – increase! Tariffs – freeze!” This was a demand for higher salaries, pensions, social benefits and scholarships, and for stopping the growth of utility tariffs and the prices of basic products.
As promised by the press service of the party, deputies, marching along Nevsky, sang the song Gazmanov “Forward, Russia!” Columns of supporters marched, girls with drums were in the procession as well.
The Liberal Democratic Party gathered for their May Day rally at noon on Pushkin Square. It was held under the slogan “Do not interfere with work!”, “Spring in the Russian house”, “Liberal Democratic Party – a world!”, according to the official website of the party. These slogans separate them from other parties and organizations. The reference to ‘Spring’ carries the double meaning of both May 1st as a celebration of spring and labor, but also to the ‘Spring’ revolutions across the Arab world starting five years ago, as well as the ‘spring’ on Maidan in Ukraine just over a year ago. Respects were paid to Nemtsov as well.
“The democratic forces of St. Petersburg are going to speak for an end to Russian aggression against Ukraine and rapprochement with the West,” – stated the Liberal Democrats’ press release, “Democratic Petersburg” (“Solidarity” movement, “Memorial”, “The Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg “and others).
Earlier in the day, May Day marches were held in Primorye, Siberia and the Urals. In Vladivostok, as reported by the administration of Primorye, a demonstration was attended by more than 35 thousand people. The participants of the procession were led by the Presidential Cadet Academy; cadets passed in columns across the bridge and reached the central square of the seaside city, where Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky was waiting for them with a festive reception and a concert.
Unions were represented as well, marching under the slogan “The rise in prices – twice the growth of the salary”.
The slogan of “doubling wages” has been popular in Chita as well, where about five thousand people took part in the May Day march of trade unions on the main street of the city. The action of trade unions ended with a rally on Lenin Square.
“The problems in the region are serious. Wages of the people have rapidly fallen, economic growth can not be out of the question. In the backdrop of impoverishment of the vast majority of inhabitants of the region, services in medicine, education, and other vital areas are costing more”, – said the head of the Trade Union Federation of the Trans-Baikal Zoe edge Prokhorov.
Chita Communists celebrated the holiday on their own. About 150 people brought to the central square of the Communist Party, the EIF and “Rot Front”. During the meeting they accused the leadership of “powerlessness in connection with forest fires that have resulted in human tragedy and environmental disaster. ”
“The situation with the fires, which in the Baikal area has already exceeded 200 thousand hectares, shows that the regional authorities do not want to be responsible for what happens,” – said the representative of the Communist Party. The unions, backed by United Russia, demand a doubling of salaries.
Across Russia, all events took place without incident, and without security problems.