In St Petersburg police detained opposition demonstrators who had marched to Pionerskaya Square where authorities had given them permission to stage a protest rally.
The marchers were held and put in police vans amid claims they had been chanting opposition slogans.
Organisers put the number at the rally at over 5,000. They maintain the protesters, many wearing white ribbons the symbol of peaceful protest walked calmly to the square.
The day of rallies in Russia stretched across almost 7,400 kilometres from St. Petersburg in the West to Vladivostok on the Pacific, marking the biggest protests since Putin came to power in 2000.
In the city of Khabarovsk, the largest in the far east, just 30 kilometres from the border with China dozens of protesters and at least one journalist were detained. Some had stood silently in the city’s Lenin Square, their mouths taped shut with red tape. They were led away to waiting buses.
A cameraman was held after he was ordered to hand in his passport. An officer said they were acting within the law by detaining the protesters.