Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 87

One and a half million Russian citizens took part in demonstrations in Moscow and 900 other Russian cities yesterday to mark the May Day holiday, Russian police estimated. All the rallies passed off peacefully. As on previous occasions, the organizers and the police gave different figures on the number of participants. (Interfax, May 1)

There were two demonstrations in Moscow, where police estimated the size of the crowd in the capital at 25,000, while organizers put it at 100,000. The larger of Moscow’s two demonstrations was organized by the Communist party and its nationalist allies. That demonstration approved a resolution calling for President Yeltsin’s ouster, saying he had committed "monstrous and unforgivable crimes against the country and the people." Red flags waved and banners read: "Yeltsin and Chubais — Resign!" "We are one with fraternal Belarus!" and "Hands off the Lenin Mausoleum!" Moscow also saw a less radical, union-sponsored march of some 20,000 people, which was addressed by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov outside the headquarters of the Moscow city government. Russia’s Independent TV noted that there were more young people at the union-sponsored demonstration, while the Communist-sponsored demonstration was made up mainly of older people. (Reuter, Itar-Tass, NTV, May 1)

In St Petersburg, police estimated the number of demonstrators at 45,000; in Krasnodar, 47,000; in Yakutia, 20,500; in Chelyabinsk, 17,500; in Orenburg, 12,500. (Interfax, May 1) In Primorsky krai in Russia’s Far East, turnout was low and demonstrators denounced not only the government but also the trade unions for failing to get workers onto the streets. (NTV, May 1) Throughout Russia, indeed, the overwhelming majority of people used the holiday to visit the countryside or relax with friends, as Yeltsin had urged them in a nationwide radio address marking the holiday. Yeltsin himself ventured onto Red Square for a short walk, but kept away from the demonstrators. (UPI, May 1) Another anti-government demonstration is planned for May 9 but, to judge from yesterday’s turnout, the government is unlikely to be losing sleep over it.

Former Russian Commander May Run for Presidency of Karachaevo-Cherkessia.