Four hundred Russians living in exile rallied against Vladimir Putin’s rule outside their embassy in Berlin.
To send a message to the German Chancellor, they held up signs reading ‘Angela don’t look away’.
One protester said:
“We are protesting against this brutal dictatorship, we’ve had enough. We’ve tolerated it for the last 12 years but now it’s enough. It cannot continue.”
It is reported that similar demonstrations took place in a number of other cities with Russian communities around the world.
Prominent MEPs from states bordering with Russia have said the protests are a wake-up call for EU foreign policy.
A senior member of Angela Merkel’s staff has called on EU officials to put pressure on the Kremlin to hold proper presidential elections in March, when they meet for an EU-Russia summit on Thursday.