Smaller turnout at second round of Moscow protests 

 

About 1,000 demonstrators demanding a rerun of parliamentary elections gathered in central Moscow today for a second weekend of protests against Russia's fraud-tainted vote, a comparatively small crowd that underlined the challenge to the opposition of keeping up public pressure on authorities.

The turnout was far below the nationwide protests last Saturday in at least 60 cities, including a dramatic gathering of tens of thousands in Moscow, the largest show of public anger in post-Soviet Russia. Demonstrations took place in at least two other cities today. 

The protests follow the December 4 national parliamentary elections, in which the ruling United Russia party lost a significant share of its seats in the State Duma, though it retained a narrow majority. Opposition forces claim even that was unearned, supported by reports from local and international observers of widespread vote-count irregularities and outright fraud. 

The combination of fraud and United Russia's declining fortunes galvanized opposition groups that have been repressed under Putin's 12 years of rule. After several nights of unauthorized protests that police broke up harshly, Moscow authorities showed unprecedented largesse in granting permission to hold several large protests. 

The Russian leadership appeared shaken by the opposition's determination, but its decision to grant permission for the protests could also be a strategy aimed at dissipating the anger with the hope that unhindered protests will eventually fade away. 

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this week effectively rejected calls to rerun the election, declaring that its result reflected the people's will. The new Duma is to have its opening session on Wednesday. 

The opposition, in turn, aims to keep up the pressure with a series of protests, and is placing much hope on a Moscow rally Dec. 24 that organizers believe will attract at least 50,000 people. 

Saturday's protest at Bolotnaya Square, on an island in the Moscow River a few hundred meters from the Kremlin, was organized by Yabloko, a liberal party that has been a longtime bit-player in Russian politics. Unlike many liberal groups, it was allowed to register for the parliament elections, but won no seats. 

Speakers including party leader Sergei Mitrokhin called for the December 4 election results to be annulled. Mitrokhin also took Putin to task for his televised comments this week in which he claimed protest leaders were acting at the West's behest and sarcastically said he thought the white ribbons many protesters wear as an emblem were condoms. 

"Our Prime Minister held a live show on our TV where during five hours he was calling us condoms financed by the State Department, crooks that are trying to steal the country, and I think that this is the reaction that shows he was scared," Mitrokhin told the well-behaved crowd. 

Russian news media also reported about 500 people held a protest in the Siberian city of Irkutsk and that about 100 tried for an unauthorized rally in Samara, where four demonstrators were arrested. 

AP

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

£400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

IT Support - Hampshire - £24,000

£19000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone