Some 200 people took to the streets in Russia’s Far East city of Khabarovsk in spite of the snowstorm and twenty degrees below on Saturday to protest against alleged electoral fraud in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, local police said.
The protesters gathered on Komsomolskaya Square, carrying red flags and placards calling to cancel the election results. According to organizers, if the weather was nice, the would be a larger crowd.
Smaller crowds turned out in the cities of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Blagoveshchensk and Vladivostok in eastern Russia. More than 150 people came to a rally in Vladivostok, about 40 people in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and more than 50 people rallied in Blagoveshchensk.
The overriding complaint from the demonstrators is that parliamentary elections held on December 4 and won by United Russia were fraught with cheating and should be rerun.
Some 50,000 people intend to take part in an authorized rally in Moscow. The scheduled rally is the second of its kind following the mass demonstration on December 10 – the largest protest in Russia in nearly two decades – and will further test popular support for Putin, 59, who has announced plans to return as president next spring.
Participants of the rally in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk adopted resolutions at the end of demonstrations. The requirements are the same, to punish those who are responsible for fraud in the parliamentary elections, to abolish the voting results and to rerun the elections under the supervision of independent observers from all parties and public organizations.