Smaller crowd rallies against Putin
MOSCOW – More than 20,000 protesters flocked to a central Moscow avenue Saturday to demand Vladimir Putin’s resignation and protest electoral fraud, but the crowd’s relatively small size compared to recent protests suggested the country’s opposition movement has lost momentum.
Putin, who was Russia’s president from 2000-2008 before switching to the prime minister’s office due to term limits, won 64 percent of the vote in the March 4 presidential election.
His decision to return to the presidency infuriated opposition activists who have grown tired of his heavy-handed rule. A December parliamentary election that was marred by fraud angered many ordinary Russians and bolstered opposition ranks.
Protests held after December’s vote attracted up to 100,000 people.