The Russian opposition has called on the authorities to annul election results marred by alleged violations and threatened more anti-Kremlin rallies as tens of thousands demonstrated across the country. Officially, police estimates put the crowd on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square on December 10 at 20,000, although organizers cited much higher figures of up to 100,000. The event went off without significant incident and police say no one was detained.
Many media outlets said it marked the largest protest since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a resolution laid before demonstrators in Moscow, the opposition also demanded the release of opposition leaders Aleksei Navalny and Ilya Yashin and others who were jailed in protests this week.
“The first [demand] is the release of political prisoners who were jailed after the so-called elections and the second is new elections,” Yevgenia Chirikova, an environmentalist and key opposition leader, told RFE/RL after the Moscow demonstration. “Of course, having new elections is one of our definite demands, but there are rather a lot of conditions.”
Those conditions include a call for the resignation of Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov and an investigation into his work, as well as an investigation into vote-fraud allegations and changes to the law on registering political parties to allow all opposition parties to participate in future elections. The organizers say they will protest again on December 24 if the government has not acceded to their demands.