On Saturday, February 4th, tens of thousands of Russians took part in a march against the prime minister Vladimir Putin’s 12 years governing. At the same time his supporters staged a rival rally drawing comparable numbers.
According to world media, “protesters marched within sight of the red-brick Kremlin walls and towers, chanting “Russia without Putin!”, “Down with the cold, down with Putin,” and “Give us back the elections!”
“Not a single vote for Putin!” Vladimir Ryzhkov, a one of the liberal opposition leaders, said.
Many demonstrators were wearing white ribbons as symbols of protests which main motto is “For Fair Elections.”
Smaller protests were held in other cities across the vast country.
Police said 138,000 people attended the pro-Putin rally a few miles long in Moscow.
“Trade union representatives called us together and said at least five to 10 people from each school had to go (to the Putin rally),” said Sergei Bebchuk, a 54-year-old headteacher who ignored the request and attended the opposition protest.
Demonstrators carried posters saying “For Putin” with a check mark in a box next to his face. Another read “Putin led Russia out of civil war” and one said, “My children will live in Russia – I need Putin.”
“My aim is to support the movement against the ‘orange ones’ – those America sends us to topple those in power and rock society,” Kirill Domchenko, 25, a Moscow university student, said.
Putin said in December , that Western countries were spending billions of dollars to influence Russian elections. He praised the ‘anti-orange’ demonstrators and said “I share their views,” Interfax reported.