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Rallies for and against Putin brave Moscow's cold


Russia

Rallies for and against Putin brave Moscow's cold

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have braved severely cold weather in Moscow to voice their disapproval of Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
 
In the main, the demonstrators have two grievances; the first fuelled by allegations that December’s parliamentary elections were riddled with fraud in favour of Putin’s party – the opposition want a re-run.
 
The second comes from anger over the way Putin has effectively remained in power for 12 years, even though the constitution only allows two consecutive four year terms as president, and there could be more Putin years to come.
 
In a month he will be standing for President again and he is widely tipped to be returned to the Kremlin.
 
To counter his detractors pro-Putin crowds were making a conspicuous show of their backing in another part of the Russian capital.
 
Police said there were 90,000 at the rally – though some teachers claimed they had been put under pressure to turn out to support the prime minister.

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