The rally was attended by about 100 people from Hamburg and from different cities in Northern Germany.
At the rally they spoke about the crimes of the Putin regime: wars, political arrests, assassination attempts and murders. They honoured the memory of all the victims with a minute's silence.
The organisers of the rally gave me the opportunity to speak.
Here is the full text of the speech:
"Dear compatriots, dear German friends!
20 August is known not only for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in 2020, but it is also one of the days of the putsch that took place in the Soviet Union 32 years ago in 1991.
Back then, it was possible to defend the democratic path of the country's development, including at the cost of human casualties.
In the pursuit of initial capital accumulation, the new democratic elite did not condemn Stalinism and communism at the state level, did not rule on lustration, which led to the fact that in less than 10 years the KGB junta headed by Putin took over power in the country.
Under early Putin the country became authoritarian, and under late Putin it turned into a country with a totalitarian regime, death squads, hundreds of political prisoners and military aggression against a neighbouring state. In a word - the whole ogre's kit!
Today we are talking about Russian political prisoners and the regime's political crimes. For me, these are not abstractions, but concrete people. I personally know seven people against whom criminal prosecutions began after 24 February last year. Five of them are still in prison. They are Maria Ponomarenko, Volodya Kara-Murza, Vadim Ostanin, Mikhail Afanasyev and Sergei Mikhailov.
Unfortunately, in the current political situation, as it is not bitter to admit, the release of political prisoners depends little on us.
We must recognise that there are no elections in Russia! This is already a medical fact.
The expectation that, thanks to "clever" voting and the inflated CPRF, competition would emerge in the echelons of Russian power and this would lead to rocking the boat of Putin's regime has not justified itself.
All parties in the State Duma are PARTIES OF WAR!
Today in Russia about 300 administrative and about 30 criminal cases are initiated every month for political reasons!
In Russia 20 per cent of the population is intimidated and 80 per cent is zombified! Therefore, we cannot count on mass protests in the country.
The question arises, what tasks do we achieve with our public actions, and in general, what should we do?
In my opinion, in the course of our actions:
1) We demonstrate to the ruling circles of Germany, Europe, and the US that there is another Russia that opposes Putin's domestic and foreign policy;
2) We show solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their just war against Russian aggression;
3) By reminding about political prisoners, political crimes and mass violations of rights and freedoms in Russia we make Putin and his junta unlikely to be respected, and thus prevent the Western Realpolitik to negotiate with Putin behind the back of Ukraine.
In addition to actions, we can engage in people's diplomacy. There are a lot of Ukrainian refugees in the city, with whom we can communicate, tell them that not all Russians are Orcs, donate, help them to the best of our ability.
I lived half my life in the Soviet Union and I am convinced that the communist regime collapsed largely due to external factors and the fortuitous circumstance that Mikhail Gorbachev, rather than the bloodthirsty Lenin or Stalin, led the country at the time.
The country could not withstand the arms race, the war in Afghanistan and the planned economy. When the communist regime collapsed, no one came out to defend it, everyone was fed up with the deficit and the principle: "Only one pair of galoshes in one hand".
Today's US and EU economic sanctions have had little impact on Russia so far. Putin's regime is saved by the market economy. The situation is such that only a defeat in the war with Ukraine can lead to the collapse of the Putin regime, and even if not immediately, but democratic reforms will come, and with them the release of all political prisoners.
I would like to end my speech with Okudzhava's poem, which has become relevant again: "Let us hold hands, friends. So that we don't disappear alone".
Alexander Goncharenko, doctor, Russian politician and human rights activist