Tens of thousands of Russians yesterday braved freezing conditions in Moscow to protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
With temperatures as low as -20C, 120,000 people marched near the Kremlin demanding fair presidential elections on 4 March. Many wore the white ribbons that have become symbols of the anti-Putin movement and chanted: "Russia without Putin!" and "Give us back the elections!" Supporters of Mr Putin, who is expected to win the election, staged a rival rally in the capital, while opponents organised smaller protests in other cities. The protesters are angry at "undemocratic" plans for Mr Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev to swap jobs after the election. The protests began after suspicions of fraud during December's elections, won by Mr Putin's ruling United Russia party.