Crowds made a conspicuous show of support for the Russian Prime Minister in another part of Moscow to counter Vladimir Putin’s detractors.
One young pro-Putin protester told euronews: ‘We stand for free choice. We want to control our own lives ourselves, we don’t want the West to tell us what to do. We want to be free people and make our own choices.’
Another supporter added: ‘He is the only person you can vote for and you can trust. He is honest, fair and conscientious. I’m just a driver, no one asked me to come here, I come because I wanted to. Today is my day off. I wanted to rest, but I came here to support our country and Vladimir Putin. My family and I are voting for Putin.”
Police said there were nearly 140,000 at the rally, though at past rallies numbers had been boosted by sympathisers who had been bussed in.
Some teachers also claimed they had been put under pressure to turn out in support.
Putin is widely tipped to return as President next month after the last four years of prime- ministerial power.