It’s election time in Moscow, with the city going to the polls to choose its mayor for the first time since direct elections to the post were halted in 2006. While it’s highly unlikely that incumbent Sergei Sobyanin will lose his grip on the capital, charismatic opposition campaigner Alexei Navalny has already demonstrated that he can attract a crowd of supporters.
On Friday, he’s staging a rock-rally, perhaps echoing the success of Yury Shevchuk’s musical protests in a final bid to energize support for his campaign. On the bill, aside from Navalny’s own election address, are performances from the likes of U2-inspired epic rockers Motorama, last seen at Motherland Summer last weekend and due to appear again at 16 Tons on Saturday, and Belarusian agit-pop from Lyapis Trubetskoi.
The venue, on Prospekt Sakharova, was the scene of some of the biggest recent anti-government demonstrations of recent years back in December 2011 following the State Duma elections. Since then, it’s become a regular rallying point for the disaffected middle class. Unlike some previous rallies, this one is officially sanctioned, and therefore should go off peacefully – audiences are reminded, though, the politics in Russia can be a fraught affair. This is unlikely to be a typical open-air rock concert of the sort promised for City Day on Saturday.
Performances start at 5:30pm, the headliners are due on stage after 7pm and Navalny’s speech is scheduled for 8:30.