Planned Anti-Corruption Event Disrupted In Kazan

By Idel.Realities

A meeting of an anti-corruption project backed by Russian opposition politician Yulia Galyamina in Kazan had to be postponed because of an alleged emergency situation in the facility where it was to be held, according to an organizer of the event.

Representatives of Galyamina and her School of District Anti-Corruption were told that an alarm went off inside the building, the electricity was cut off, and the doors were blocked, the organizers told RFE/RL's Idel.Realities on February 12.

The meeting was to be held at a space provided by Parallel Co-Working, which rents conference rooms and other spaces for events in Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.

A representative of Parallel Co-Working said that the fire alarm went off due to artificial smoke used by the bar downstairs at a party the night before. For this reason, some rooms were blocked in the morning, the representative, who identified herself only as Alina, told Idel.Realities.

Alina confirmed that the situation was unusual. The representative could not say whether the School of District Anti-Corruption would be provided with a space if restrictions inside the building were lifted.

Representatives of the Kazan opposition, who had expressed a desire to participate in the event, told Idel.Realities they had no doubt that Parallel Co-Working found an excuse to refuse Galyamina’s organization after pressure from local law enforcement agencies.

The organizers found a new venue for their meeting at the Regina Hotel but were not able to conduct it undisturbed. Police arrived after the meeting started and said there had been a report of a violation of anti-COVID-19 measures in the classroom.

The police said that if the participants gather again, they will come back to check the event for "compliance with anti-COVID measures."

Opposition politicians in the past have been prevented from holding meetings in Kazan at the last moment.

The Hotel Shushma, where a debate on the need to extend the agreement between Tatarstan and Russia was to be held in 2017, refused to rent a hall to the organizers. And in December 2019, the Nogai Hotel refused to rent a conference hall to the organizers of the Tatarstan Elections 2020 forum.