About 25 protesters rallied in front of the Russian consul general’s home in Madison Park on Dec. 1, against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression of political and free-speech rights in that country.   photo/Bryan Tagas
 

About 25 protesters rallied in front of the Russian consul general’s home in Madison Park on Dec. 1, against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression of political and free-speech rights in that country.   photo/Bryan Tagas

 

It was a sedate group of protesters that showed up at the Russian Consulate on Dec. 1 to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repression of political and free-speech rights in Russia. The action, which was sponsored by the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women, drew about 25 activists to Madison Park for a short rally in front of the Russian consul general’s residence, at 3726 E. Madison St.

Madison Park is unusual in having the sovereign territory of a foreign power located within its precincts. There are 38 “accredited consular offices” in the Seattle area, but most of these are the offices of honorary consuls (including one representing, of all places, the Seychelles). There are just six official consulates in Seattle (Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea and El Salvador are represented, in addition to Russia), and all of these consular offices are located downtown. For that matter, the office of Consulate General of the Russian Federation is also located downtown, in the Westin Building. 

What is in Madison Park is actually the residence of the consul general, Andrey K. Yushmanov, who lives in the Madison Street mansion topped by the Russian flag. His 10,000-square-foot abode has been described by author Jane Powell Thomas in her “Madison Park Remembered” as “Madison Park’s most important home architecturally.” 

The mansion (onetime consulate of the USSR) was built between 1908 and 1910 and is known (to those in the know) as the Hyde House for the original owner/builder, a mining magnate named Samuel Hyde. This Russian Federation territory takes up 23,640 square feet of Madison Park.

There was no evidence (at least while we were in the vicinity) of any Russian presence at the mansion while the protesters chanted “Putin Nyet!” as passing motorists slowed to see what the commotion was all about. Everything was remarkably subdued and orderly, the demonstrators’ chants being interspersed with the occasional honking of car horns — presumably in support, since the protestors were not blocking the street.

 

BRYAN TAGAS writes the Madison Park blog (www.madisonparkblogger.com), from which this story was excerpted. To comment on this story, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.