Thousands of protesters are marching through the centre of Moscow in the first major demonstration against President Putin’s administration for three months.
It will show if the opposition movement still has momentum after the disputed parliamentary elections last December, and Putin’s return to the Kremlin in March.
The leader of the Left Front opposition party, Sergei Udaltsov, said: “Our main aim is to force the authorities to start a dialogue. The summer has gone, three months since our last march. Not one demand has been met. Not one political prisoner has been released. On the contrary, repression has gathered pace and more people have been arrested.”
The opposition has remained a disparate collection of often squabbling groups which has no clear leader.
The Kremlin has dismissed the protesters as an insignificant minority in a country of more than 140-million people.
One Russian news agency estimated the crowds early on at 20,000. Organisers had hoped for 50,000.