Cold threatens turnout for anti-Putin gathering

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Cold threatens turnout for anti-Putin gathering

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Unusually cold weather could reduce the amount of protesters expected to attend an anti-Putin march in Moscow on Saturday.

Opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, who is one of the organisers of the march ‘For Honest Elections’ said the amount of participants may drop by 5,000 for every degree the weather drops.

The event will also be competing with rallies supporting presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, but some people, like 58-year-old Moscow resident Alexander Patchoukaev, are keen to take part despite the bitter cold.

“I am going to the opposition march. I’m a democrat. I’m not a nationalist or a “nashist” -an activist from the pro-Putin “Nashi” movement. I want change. I want a new system, that’s all,” he said.

Others feel despondent, like Ekaterina who also lives in the capital.

“I don’t think there’s not a realistic alternative to Putin. By and large it’s all useless. While we don’t have someone who can replace him, a lot will have to be changed. At this point I don’t see a realistic opponent.”

Nearly 27,500 people on social networking site Facebook have agreed to attend the anti-Putin march, and organisers are hoping for a similar turnout to the two rallies in December which attracted tens of thousands of supporters.