St.Petersburg Anniversary: What About Human Rights?

Celebration of the 300th anniversary to cause serious losses to enterprises
St.Petersburg news agency Fontanka held a special poll among companies of the city; the companies were asked what they would do on the days of festivities dedicated to the 300th anniversary of St.Petersburg. Results of the poll turned out to be quite predictable. As 39% of the questioned say, majority of organizations in St.Petersburg will partially stop their activity. 25% of respondents say organizations where they work will be closed for the period of festivities. 21% of respondents belong to a category of people whose work will be especially hot within this period. These are journalists, employees of law enforcement and communal services, workers from public institutions, etc. Only 4% of the questioned will be working in districts distant from the center.

On the one hand, the results of the poll can be treated as positive: some people will work during the festivities to make the anniversary a particular holiday for St.Petersburg citizens. On the other hand, it is not ruled out that citizens feel rather apprehensive of the days of the 300th anniversary celebration. It is highly likely the days will be restless; the normal life of the city will be paralyzed. And this can be perceived already now: the pre-anniversary rush is gaining steam and the anxiety can be felt everywhere in the air.

Recently, a hot telephone line has been opened in St.Petersburg especially for citizens to inform about negative incidents during the festivities. Operators of the newly opened hot line will give people legal advice in case if they suffer some unlawful acts during the anniversary celebration. The civil public organization Groza is the organizer of the hot line. As Groza President Andrey Smirnov says, celebration of the anniversary is a unique event in the city's life which will bring St.Petersburg large dividend. But it is highly likely that rights and freedoms of individuals and companies will be seriously violated because of visits paid by governmental delegations, foreign tourists, and special services from all over the world.

The organizers of the action are sure that although the road police has already developed belt lines for those cases when governmental delegations will be driving about the center of the city, drivers will all the same suffer from traffic jams seriously. These jams may cause harm not only to individuals on the way to office, but also to organization that may fail to deliver or get necessary goods in time.

The hot line organizers say it is impossible to calculate the exact amount of losses that enterprises and organizations may suffer during the anniversary festivities. The seaport of St.Petersburg will be closed for several days. The citizens won't get latest news, as the Lenizdat publishing house will be also stopped. Enterprises located along the Volkhonskoye highway and in the center of St.Petersburg will suffer very serious losses. As the hot line organizers say, a so-called pre-court compensation is practiced all over the world: organizers of large-scale events understand what troubles they may cause and pay previously agreed sums to those people who are highly likely to suffer as a result of the events.

In a word, organizations of St.Petersburg will be able to calculate their economic losses when the festivities are over.

Pavel Timofeyev, Mikhail Zevakin

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Author`s name Michael Simpson