‘Strategy 31’ Organizers Appear to Give Up Limonov (updated)

Update 07.27.10: Despite previous confusion within the Russian media, Limonov is indeed no longer to be included among the Strategy 31 organizers. In an article published by Grani.ru on Monday, the National Bolshevik leader said that rally organizers should stop applying for government sanction altogether since they are never approved. Additionally, he said that anyone who files an application “will become a traitor to the common interest.”

Lyudmila Alexeyeva. Source: Inoforum.ruTwo Russian opposition leaders appear to have agreed to make a compromise with Moscow city authorities in order to receive legal sanction to hold the next in the series of Strategy 31 rallies in defense of freedom of assembly, Grani.ru reports.

In a statement posted Saturday on her blog, former Soviet dissident and Strategy 31 rally co-organizer Lyudmila Alexeyeva indicated, albeit inadvertently, that she and fellow former dissident Sergei Kovalyov have decided to exclude National Bolshevik leader Eduard Limonov from the group of organizers who regularly apply for sanction with the Moscow mayor’s office.

The concession would fall in line with a proposal made by the presidential administration earlier this month to exclude Limonov and receive sanction as a result. At the time, opposition leaders – including Alexeyeva – strongly denounced the proposal.

However, the 82-year-old former dissident said that the compromise does not signify a defeat for the Strategy 31 campaign, and is rather a structural alternation.

“A concession to alter the composition of the group of applicants, from our point of view, is not a fundamental concession as long as the new applicants are well-known activists in the 31 movement,” says the statement.

“We don’t think that an acceptance of the conditions put forth by the Moscow authorities would signify defeat,” the statement goes on. “To agree to force out anyone else from these rallies would be a capitulation. But an agreement to hold the rally…with different applicants for the event is by no means a disgraceful agreement. This is a success all the same. Yes, not an entire one, but a success.”

However, the joint statement does not actually mention Limonov by name, and there are conflicting reports in the Russian media as to who the oppositionists are actually referring to. Citing information from RIA Novosti, the online news site Gazeta.ru is reporting that Alexeyeva herself plans to leave the group of organizers, and not Limonov. If this was the case, however, the logic would be hard to find, as there was never any indication that such a step would result in the Moscow authorities granting sanction to Strategy 31 events.

At the same time, commenters on Alexeyeva’s blog have chastised her and Kovalyov for composing a Soviet-style bureaucratic document that, while clearly speaking about Limonov, does not actually mention his name. The post itself does indirectly reference the earlier proposal by the presidential administration to exclude Limonov, as mentioned above: “to agree to force out anyone else would signify defeat.”

As of Sunday morning, Limonov himself had not made any statement in response.