Thousands of Russian citizens marched yesterday in the Chechen capital of Grozny to mark the region’s ‘Republic Day’, also known as the Day of Civil Harmony and Unity.
Reports of the march state that thousands of citizens gathered in the autonomous Russian republic’s capital to mark the event. Among the celebrations seen were musical performances, official addresses and a parade of race car drivers.
But despite the appearance of civil pride some claim that their participation in the event was demanded by officials.
Students at the Chechen State University told journalists for the Caucasian Knot
“Yesterday, all the students of my group were warned at the University that no lessons will take place today, but a march would be held in honour of the Republic’s Day, and the participation therein is mandatory. Naturally, we were warned that those who ignored the event would be specially registered at the dean’s office,”
Claims that students at the state university were required to attend have added to concerns that the parade contained many highly nationalistic elements. Among those present at the event were a two ‘fan clubs’ for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadyrov, who distributed pro-governmental literature to people including children.
Residents of Grozny also raised concerns of increased security, which saw entire areas of the city closed off in order to control the crowds attending.