In Russia, toys and vegetables to oppose the constitutional referendum

Activists have decided to bypass the ban on demonstrating against constitutional reform in Russia by leaving their signs … to toys and vegetables.Since Thursday, June 25 and until July 1, Russian voters are called to the polls to speak in a referendum on constitutional reform. The latter should in particular allow President Vladimir Putin tostay in power two more terms, until 2036. The president would also strengthen some of his powers, such as the appointment and dismissal of judges. To this is added indexing of pensions, the “faith in God” which is rooted in the constitution and marriage as a heterosexual institution.

The vote was originally scheduled for April 22, but postponed until July 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To avoid excessive crowds and the spread of the virus, the authorities opened polling stations on June 25.

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Due to the pandemic and lack of media access, dissenting voices, the campaign against reformers has never started. The rally, scheduled for April in Moscow, could not take place because of the containment.

However, some activists who are still unable to gather for health reasons have found a way to be heard with “minimum manifestations”. And it was to figures, dolls and even fruit that they gave their signs.

Photos published June 21 on social networks show the toy demonstration organized by the opposition group Vesna. “This referendum is even more false than we are,” we can read on the green banner in front of the figures. “I vote no!” Also a small doll branding.

These toys did not go unnoticed: On the same day, police went to the spokeswoman’s home for Vesna and an investigation was initiated, according to The Moscow Times.

On Instagram, an account rang “Mini Demonstration” also encourages users to say “no” to the fruit and vegetable reform.

One participant in this online campaign, who preferred to remain anonymous, explains to the editors of the observers:

“Demonstrations are currently not allowed in Russia. During the pandemic policy and isolationist measures, the police arrest people on fences and opposition leaders do not take the risk of rallying. Our society is acting passively, like vegetables (seen in the photos, editor’s note). just the campaign for “yes that’s allowed.”

The validation of the reform has indeed almost been obtained: the revised constitution is already for sale in bookstores. However, from May 2018 to May 2020, its approval rate measured by the independent Levada Institute went from 79% to 59%.
Child figure protests in 2012

Figures had already marked the anti-Putin slogan on the public square in 2012 in Barnaul, a city in Siberia. At that time, activists condemned the outcome of the legislative elections on December 4, 2011, an unprecedented mobilization in their small town that month that resulted in the arrest of 20 opponents and the ban on the AGM. Some then had the idea to organize on January 7 and 14 these “nanomanifestations” of Lego, teddy bears and Kinder figures.

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According to the British daily The Guardian, local authorities had finally banned the toy’s micro-events and said the toys were not Russian citizens.