MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The non-system opposition, displeased with the results of the Duma elections, held in Moscow on Monday one of the most massive rallies over the past few years. The protesters stated that 15 per cent of votes had been added to the real figures, obtained by UR, and moved on their own accord towards the premises of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). The protest action ended with clashes with men of the special police force and the arrest of at least 200 people.
According to the information of The Kommersant, initially some 500 people were to come to the rally, organized by the Solidarity movement, but the people, displeased with the results of the elections, saw that it was the only sanctioned place where they could express their discontent without the risk of being arrested. So, some 4,000 people came to the square at the Chistye Prudy park, paying no attention to the rain. Some people said it was the first rally in their life they came to attend. Vladimir Ryzhkov, co-chairman of the Popular Freedom Party, addressed the rally and predicted an inevitable failure to Putin at the coming presidential elections, while the crowd whistled and chanted “Russia without Putin,” “We shall neither forget nor forgive” and “We want someone else for president.” Dmitry Bykov, a writer and co-author of the Poet and Citizen project, said he had never before seen such unity of the opposition-minded people. Ilya Yashin, member of the Solidarity Political Council, suggested to the protesters that they should “take a walk” towards the premises of CEC, after which the action ceased to be sanctioned, and the dissenters, who moved from the square, began to be arrested by the police. Protest actions, which ended with arrests, were also held on Monday in St.Petersburg and Samara.
It was difficult to say exactly how many Muscovites came to the square because of darkness and rain. A correspondent of The Novye Izvestia reports, that at least 3,000 people gathered at the square alone. All speakers at the rally said that what happened in the country on December 4 could not be described as elections, that people were just duped, without trying to bring official results to the real ones. According to the speakers, the Duma elections were a dress rehearsal of the presidential elections, which may be held in the same way, if the authorities are not stopped. Boris Nemtsov, co-chairman of the Popular Freedom Party (PARNAS) and one of the organizers of the rally, said that the real rating of UR was under 30 per cent, but the figure was brought to 50 per cent, “so that people were left, who really support them.” Members of the opposition maintain that the recent elections were the most dirty ones in the twenty years of history of the modern Russia. This is why “it is necessary to insist on the holding of new, early elections to the Duma.”
The protesters informed each other of the rally through blogs. The number of people, who wanted to take part in it, was so great, that at some moment, the entry to the Chistye Prudy park was blocked. The protesters who came to attend the rally were not skinheads, but ordinary people, obviously not poor. The crowd chanted “Revolution” and ”Constitution”, and at the beginning of the action men of the special police force (OMON) were most polite with the protesters.