120,000 demonstrators pack into Moscow to protest against Putin, Medvedev, and election corruption.
For the second time in less than a month, thousands of protestors have descended on Moscow to protest against alleged corruption in recent elections.
Organisers claim that 120,000 people joined the protest despite the temperature being five degrees below zero, whilst the authorities put the figure at 29,000. Whatever the true figure, looking at the blog picture, there appears to be in excess of the 29,000 quoted by the government.
Protestors are again demanding the resignation of Putin, a demand which has been endorsed by former President, Mikhail Gorbachev.
Opposition leader Alexey Navalny, told the crowd that, “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin or White House right now!”.
He went on to say that, “We are a peaceful force, and we will not do that, for now. But if these crooks and thieves continue to try and cheat us, lie and steal from us, we will take what is rightfully ours, by ourselves”. Bold words to say in a country where people are locked up for making similar statements.
Speakers verbally attacked Putin and called on voters to prevent his election in a 4th March presidential vote. A further protest was planned for after the long New Year's holiday.
“We are the 99%”, said Left Front leader Sergei Ugaltsov in a video message broadcast at the rally. Ugaltsov has been jailed many times by a politically motivated judiciary, who aim to prevent him from participating in politics. He added that, “The 1% are Kremlin bandits, criminals, oligarchs, corrupted officials, and other bastards.
Making reference to Putin and Medvedev, he said, “The leadership, these tandem dwarves, is deadly dangerous for Russia”.
Medvedev has tried to appease the protesters by offering minimal election reforms, and allowing them to gather for the protest (how decent of him).
The protesters have vowed to keep up the pressure of the Russian leadership.