“I have received a large number of petitions recently regarding the fate of the Khimki Forest. Despite the fact that the Government adopted a separate resolution on the construction of a motorway, and despite the fact that this issue was addressed in our judicial system and relevant rulings have been made, yet, our people, namely, representatives of various political parties, ranging from the ruling United Russia party to the opposition parties, as well as representatives of public associations and various expert circles say that this issue requires further analysis,” Medvedev’s announcement read on the Kremlin web site..
“Given this number of petitions, I have made the following decision: I am instructing the Government to suspend the implementation of the resolution on the construction of this motorway and to hold additional public and expert discussions. Such discussions have already taken place, but given that the issue has provoked a very strong response, I believe it would do no harm to return to these discussions and to conduct them once again. That would be the right thing, to ensure we dot all the i’s.
“Naturally, I do not predetermine the outcome. But given the concern experienced today by a significant number of Muscovites, as well as the initiatives and the petitions that have been made to me, this decision must be implemented.
The decision follows a rally at the Pushkin Square, in the centre of Moscow, attended by popular Russian musicians.
City Hall originally allowed, then banned a music concert to go ahead.
Moscow Times reported that 1500 policemen were on hand, but nothing would stop rocker Yury Shevchuk from grabbing an acoustic guitar and standing on an improvised stage on a truck. The front man for the popular rock band DDT, surrounded by 3,000 demonstrators and journalists, sang his hit songs "Osen" (Autumn) and "Rodina" (Motherland) using a handheld megaphone. He was joined by an accordion player.
Three prominent opposition activists were detained by the police, but Yevgenia Chirikova, leader of the Khimki Forest protest movement, rallied the crowd, chanting: "Send the route around the forest!"
Musical equipment and several musicians were not allowed to enter the square, but police did little to discourage citizens from having their voices heard over three hours.