A round 28,000 turned out Saturday for an opposition rally in Moscow to protest allegedly rigged elections, in a new challenge to Vladimir Putin’s 12 year domination of Russia, police said.
Demonstrators cheered opposition leaders and booed the Kremlin in the largest protest in the Russian capital since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
These increasing rallies are the results of a wave of protests that swept Russia this month after the opposition and independent observers said Putin’s United Russia party cheated its way to a slim majority in December 4 parliamentary polls.
Putin 59, a former KGB spy’s party the United Russia lost 25 per cent of its seats in the election, but hung onto a majority in parliament through what independent observers said was widespread fraud.
Putin said that the participants of these rallies have been paid to turn out accusing the United States of encouraging the protests in order to weaken Russia and derided those protesting as Western stooges.
Vladimir Putin’s popularity declined when he and Medvedev announced plans in September to swap jobs next year.
The latest polls showed Putin’s approval ratings have taken a dive that it will be virtually impossible to secure victory in the first round.