The demonstration in Moscow was even bigger than a similar protest two weeks ago, although rallies in other cities in the far east and Siberia earlier in the day drew smaller crowds than on Dec. 10. The demonstrations are the largest show of discontent the nation has seen since the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Rally participants densely packed a broad avenue, which has room for nearly 100,000 people, about 2.5 kilometers (some 1.5 miles) from the Kremlin, as the temperature dipped well below freezing. They chanted "Russiawithout Putin!"
A stage at the end of the 700-meter (0.43 mile) avenue featured placards reading "Russiawill be free" and "This election Is a farce." Heavy police cordons encircled the participants, who stood within metal barriers, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.