Sunday, April 22, 2012

NATO Plans in Russian City Are Protested

New York Times
April 22, 2012

MOSCOW — Nationalist and leftist groups marched on Saturday in a central Russian city to protest a proposal by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to set up a transit hub for goods shipped to and fromAfghanistan.

NATO is in talks with Russia to establish the site for shipping items like armored cars or medical equipment through Ulyanovsk, a city about 500 miles southeast of Moscow that is best known as Lenin’s birthplace.
The Russian government, concerned about instability in Afghanistan, supports the idea. But protests in Ulyanovsk began last month and have drawn some of the opposition leaders who rose to prominence during protests in Moscow last winter. While they are unlikely to thwart the plans, the protests pose a new quandary for Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who is not usually on the defensive when it comes to standing up to NATO.
Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front movement and a prominent figure in the Moscow protests, led the Ulyanovsk march on Saturday and was detained by the police. Gennady A. Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, told protesters that the site would be “a betrayal of Russia’s national interests.”

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