News

    Russians Rally Against Putin, But in Smaller Numbers

    Opposition protesters with their flags shout anti-Putin's slogans as they gathered in the center of Moscow during a rally, Saturday, March 10, 2012.
    Opposition protesters with their flags shout anti-Putin's slogans as they gathered in the center of Moscow during a rally, Saturday, March 10, 2012.
    James Brooke

    Thousands of Russian demonstrators converged on central Moscow Saturday, protesting President-elect Vladimir Putin's third term in office amid allegations of election fraud.

    Russia’s opposition had everything: brilliant sunshine, a permit for a public protest rally, and a central location in the heart of Moscow’s entertainment district.

    What they lacked were protesters.  About 20,000 came to protest on Saturday - only one-fifth as many demonstrators as there were at the last democracy rally before last Sunday's election.  At least 100,000 people turned out for that protest, in 20 degrees below zero (celsius) weather.

    White ribbons and balloons fluttered in the wind, but the spirit of Moscow’s fifth big democracy demonstration seemed deflated by Vladimir Putin’s victory at the polls.

    Officially, Putin won 64 percent of the vote.  Voter watchdog groups give him around 54 percent, but even that was enough to avoid a run-off second-round election.  So in May, the two-term former president and current prime minister begins a new six-year term as Russia's head of state.

    As a police helicopter hovered overhead, Ksenia Sobchak, a television personality turned dissident, told the democratic faithful that they have to move beyond the slogan “Russia Without Putin.”

    She said democracy advocates have to show what they are for: an independent judiciary, a free press, and elections for mayors and governors.

    The stage and sound system were decorated with posters that read: "These are not elections" and "This is not a president."

    But speaker after speaker warned that Russia’s path to democracy will pass through a long slog of building political parties and building a strong civil society.

    Vera Kichanova, a 20-year-old journalism student who won a district council election, addressed the crowd. She urged young people to get involved in politics and in neighborhood groups.

    From a different generation, Garry Kasparov, the 48-year-old chess grandmaster, urged democracy advocates to persevere.

    Kasparov, a seven-year veteran of opposition politics in Russia, told protesters not to get discouraged and not to concede defeat.

    The rally showed how Russia's anti-Putin coalition is mutating.

    At one point nationalists in the crowd marched out the authorized protest in a group.  The Russkiye supporters marched a few hundred meters to the Old Arbat pedestrian mall and lit flares in the midst of throngs of tourists strolling in the sun.  Police detained about a dozen of them.

    Elsewhere this weekend, activists are negotiating the formation of a new democracy party.  Two liberal groups, Yabloko and Parnas, are debating whether to join forces with Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire businessman.

    Prokhorov won nearly 1 million votes in the Moscow region in Sunday's election, outpolling even Putin in the capital’s center.  On Monday, Prokhorov plans to start building his own political party.

    Now, after five mass rallies, there is no agreement on whether or when to hold another.
    Sergei Udaltsov, a leader of the Left Front, vowed to hold a “March of 1 Million” to protest Mr. Putin’s inauguration on May 7.

    The most radical speaker of the day, Udaltsov said the movement’s "weapons" will be marches, meetings and strikes. But his speech was met with only scattered applause.
    After Saturday's rally Udaltsov led an unauthorized march down the New Arbat shopping street toward the Kremlin.  Only several hundred protesters followed him.

    When the group reached a pedestrian underground tunnel at a major avenue, police blocked their way and detained Udaltsov and several others.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: USA
    March 10, 2012 10:01 AM
    Because this opposition, especially its leaders, is highly unpopular in Russia, very few really support them

    by: hamad part 2 of 2
    March 10, 2012 3:38 AM
    Russia . Russians will not afford more ,if Putin does not provide tangible amendments to relieve the pressure on simple people . Steel grip should be loosened before the situation turns to what has been happening in US states .

    by: hamad part 1 of 2
    March 10, 2012 3:38 AM
    We could comment in Anti-Putin demonstrations and Syria issues whereas we are not allowed to comment on the latest bloody attack of Israeli airstrike on Gaza . Which kind of people we have been dealing with ? Europeans and Americans should pay taxes for restricted vulnerable Palestinians , do you know why ? Because nobody can afford the insanity of those people . They have been burning deep inside because Putin does not allow them to flout Jesus and Christianity in

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora