This burning question was asked through Novye Izvestia by the well-known human rights activist Boris Altshuler and his wife, poetess Larisa Miller, who sent to the editorial office a letter addressed to the Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
On May 2, when my wife and I (poet Larisa Miller) and I walked in the morning in the forest next to the house, fenced off with sidewalks with a red ribbon, when we, sitting on a bench, read aloud “Pushkin’s Death” by Yakov Gordin, a squad of policemen came up, the elder asked to leave the park, since we are "violating the established regime of self-isolation." We moved closer to the house on the very edge of the park 10 meters from the sidewalk, sat down and just when we began to read about quarantine activities during cholera in St. Petersburg in June 1831, the same outfit again approached us and asked to leave the park, sit on the playground. Thank you, they didn’t write down, they didn’t fine, and in general everything was very polite and friendly.
But the question arises: what does all this mean? It is clear that during an epidemic it is necessary to suppress any parties, any crowds. But who can be infected, or from whom can citizens who walk alone in the park, couples, mother-father with children, become infected?
On April 14, Larisa Miller and I sent a letter to the Moscow Government’s electronic reception office in the name of Mayor Sergei Sobyanin asking them to change these absurd rules and open parks and green areas of the city for Muscovites. The machine gun replied that our letter was sent to the Office for Coordinating the Activities of the Moscow City Complex and to the Office of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being in the City of Moscow.
I don’t know what they will answer us, but hardly anything meaningful. I enclose our appeal .
Moscow Mayor S.S. SOBYANIN
04/16/2020, Entrance. No. 3-6-70685 / 20
Dear Sergey Semenovich!
Fully aware of the seriousness of the situation in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and understanding the need for self-isolation and quarantine measures that you announced, we ask you to make changes to these measures regarding Muscovites' access to parks and other green areas of Moscow.
Of course, it’s correct that in recreational areas crowded places should be closed: restaurants, cafes, retail and rental outlets. But wellness walks in nature - this cannot be deprived of us.
In Germany or Austria, where no less stringent measures of self-isolation have been introduced, parks are open, moreover, doctors require citizens to walk there every day. Since the forced indefinite stay in the four walls causes damage to health comparable to the threats of the COVID-19 virus.
We ask you very much: do not deprive Muscovites of movement and air!
Boris Altshuler - physicist and human rights activist,
Larisa Miller - poet