News / Europe

Russian Opposition Returns to Streets in Protest

Opposition activists Gennady Gudkov, right, and Ilya Ponomarev, a lawmaker, left, march with opposition supporters heading to a protest rally in Moscow, September 15, 2012.Opposition activists Gennady Gudkov, right, and Ilya Ponomarev, a lawmaker, left, march with opposition supporters heading to a protest rally in Moscow, September 15, 2012.
Opposition activists Gennady Gudkov, right, and Ilya Ponomarev, a lawmaker, left, march with opposition supporters heading to a protest rally in Moscow, September 15, 2012.
Opposition activists Gennady Gudkov, right, and Ilya Ponomarev, a lawmaker, left, march with opposition supporters heading to a protest rally in Moscow, September 15, 2012.
Thousands of people streamed into central Moscow Saturday to protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his unprecedented third term as president.

Chanting, "Freedom for everyone," the demonstrators, many wearing white to show their solidarity, streamed into the center of Moscow to protest against Putin. They say Putin runs the country through a tightly controlled political system and corruption, charges the Kremlin denies.

Various people attended the rally including infants, the elderly, nationalists and liberals. They screamed, "Russia without Putin!" Many say they are upset because they believe that the Kremlin is cracking down on dissent since Putin returned to the Kremlin in May.

Nadezhda, who didn't want to use her last name, is one of the critics.  She says she attended the rally because she does not like the current environment in Russia.  "I want to live in a free country, where my thoughts are my own," Nadezhda said.  "I don't want to live in a political state. I do not want one person who decides what everyone else will do."

Watch footage of the protest in Moscow Saturday

Artem, who also didn't want to give his last name, says he too is unhappy with the Putin administration. "I don't agree with what is going on in our country, but I don't know what to do about it," said Artem.  Artem adds that there are a lot of people who are unhappy.

Since last year, there have been many rallies against Putin, and for clean elections.  However, critics say nothing has really changed. In fact, they say the Kremlin seems to be cracking down harder on dissent.

In addition to higher protest fines, parliament expelled a prominent opposition leader and Duma Deputy, Gennady Gudkhov. This, after a commission responsible for monitoring the business activities of Russian lawmakers found Gudkhov in violation of the law by co-owning and managing a construction materials business and allegedly making money from a textile firm.

Gudkhov says he is innocent and that he was targeted because he is an opposition leader. He also notes that his expulsion came on the eve of Saturday's protests against Putin, which he planned to attend.

Now that Gudkhov has been expelled, he has no immunity from prosecution and his supporters fear he could be arrested.

Many of those attending the rally also chanted, "Free Pussy Riot!"

Three members of the all-female punk band were recently sentenced to two years in a penal colony for performing an anti-Putin prayer on the altar of Russia's most prominent Orthodox cathedral. During their prayer they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Putin. They were convicted of hooliganism.

Despite the recent crackdowns, many Russian critics say they hold out hope that Russia will overcome corruption and Putin.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Johnelle from: UlLrYkozVwTyEZzIjDm
September 27, 2012 4:10 AM
You really found a way to make this whole process esaier.

by: Kerch from: Everywhere
September 17, 2012 1:00 AM
It's funny how ALL western media coverage about the demonstration never mentioned the Communist Party which is the overwhelming majority of rally and of the opposition in general.

by: john from: Canada
September 15, 2012 7:29 PM
Another excuse by Moscow police to arrest Udaltsov again, but more serious was the police truncheon it on the back of Yekterina Zaitsev's head at today's rally in Nizhny Novgorod:

by: Eu from: Pitcairn island
September 15, 2012 3:22 PM
Just look at the "russian opposition" RED flags: this is mostly KPRF-kommunist party of RF. Since when the VOA (paid by US taxpayers $$) fell in love with communists?
Comparing with 2 GWB elections, Putin elections was legal.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs