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Moscow Travel Guide

Free Speech and Kisses, Moscow Hosts Unique Events

Posted: May. 15th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Hyde Park zone
Zhitenev/RIA Novosti

Creating an environment that can only be called "unique," Moscow has moved forward with its plans for "Hyde Park" zones that serve as a platform for free speech and expression. The zones have already played host to some spectacularly odd events and are certainly something to see in Moscow for any wayward travelers looking for a real taste of the famous city.

Over the May holidays, a newfangled civil gathering site in Moscow hosted a meeting of lonely young women looking for a date. A man holding a sign that read “We want kisses” tried to proposition an attending policeman and was politely turned away. The crowd cheered and threw paper airplanes into the sky.

Moscow’s so-called Hyde Park zones began operation on May 1 and are ostensibly meant to promote civil society. Modeled on the Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner in London, the sites have nevertheless come under heavy criticism – and are frequently referred to as an empty gesture by a government intent on paying mere lip service to free speech.

The Hyde Park zones were first proposed by the government in 2012, in the aftermath of unprecedented political protests in Moscow. They operate out of Gorky Park and Sokolniki.



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