Tens of thousands of people have rallied in central Moscow in a show of anger at alleged electoral fraud. They passed a resolution “not to give a single vote to Vladimir Putin” at next year’s presidential election.
Protest leader Alexei Navalny told the crowd to loud applause that Russians would no longer tolerate corruption. “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and [Government House] right now but we are peaceful people and won’t do that just yet,” he said.
Demonstrators say parliamentary elections on 4 December, which were won by Mr Putin’s party, were rigged. The government denies the accusation.
A sea of demonstrators stretched along Sakharov Avenue, a few miles from the Kremlin, in sub-zero temperatures. Rallies were taking place across Russia, with the first big protest in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.
At least 28,000 people turned out in the capital, according to the Russian interior ministry, but rally organisers said the true number was around 120,000. President Dmitry Medvedev announced political reforms this week, but many demonstrators say it is not enough. They are demanding a re-run of the poll, which was won by Vladimir Putin’s party – but with a much smaller share of the overall vote.