Vladimir Putin is expected to return to power in the upcoming presidential elections and thousands of Russians have flooded the streets of Moscow in order to form a human chain around the capital in protest of Putin’s apparently imminent return to power.
While Russian police have stated 11,000 people attended the Big White Ring protest, organizers behind the protest said 34,000 individuals were required to form the human chain which covered the length of the road around the city center.
While holding hands in protest of Vladimir Putin’s return to power, thousands of motorists honked their horns in support as they circled the protesters. Wearing white ribbons and scarves while carrying white balloons and flowers, tens of thousands of protesters called for the removal of Vladimir Putin from power.
Between the widespread allegations of election fraud, the state run television, and state controlled political access, it should come as no surprise to find Russian citizens protesting their discontent. Unlike the Kremlin organized pro-Putin rallies in which widespread reports claim those participating are either paid or forced to be in attendance, the anti-Putin protesters are there on their own accord. To quote the editor of the New Times magazine, Yevgeniya Albats told Guardian.co.uk:
“Here the people came out on their own.”
Yevgeniya Albats could be found at the Garden Ring wearing a white ribbon and standing in protest alongside the other tens of thousands of protesters. She went on to say:
“There’s a saying that Russia is a wife. Now, Russia is a wife that no longer wants to be with this old man [Vladimir Putin].”
According to polls last week, Putin’s party is expected to win the presidential election on March 4th with more than 50% of the vote. The accuracy of the polls was certainly called into question by skeptical protesters who conveyed their intent to force Vladimir Putin into a second round.