Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Revolution warning as thousands of Russian protesters brave cold

The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, faces more mass protests over alleged election fraud as the former finance minister Alexei Kudrin warned of a ''revolution'' unless the government assuages popular anger.

At least 30,000 people packed Sakharov Prospect, a wide avenue in Moscow named after the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov, police said. The event organisers said up to 120,000 people attended the rally.

Mr Kudrin, who resigned in September after a clash with the President, Dmitry Medvedev, over military spending, backed opposition calls for the resignation of Russia's most senior election official and their demand for a repeat of the disputed December 4 parliamentary election.

The demonstration, the largest in Moscow since the break-up of the Soviet Union, was a direct rebuff of Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, both of whom have sought to mollify critics by promising political reforms.

The protesters, who braved below-freezing temperatures and snow, wore white ribbons that have become a symbol of the anti-Putin movement. Some held up signs saying, ''For Russia without Putin.''