Russian Opposition Stages Anti-Putin Rally
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Moscow to rally against Vladimir Putin's presidential victory waving flags and banners fighting for free and fair elections. International vote monitors say the election was skewed in his favour and most opposition leaders have been forced by the margin of victory to acknowledge that Putin was the winner.
Officials results showed the prime minister and former KGB officer won almost 64 per cent of votes and put the runner-up, Communist Gennady Zyuganov, on less than 18 per cent. The opposition is struggling to find a way to maintain pressure on Putin and mount a sustained challenge to the man they say has stunted Russia's political and economic development after 12 years rule as president or prime minister.
After holding four mass protests over the last three months, and successfully breaking the taboo against opposition rallies in Russia, the movement now faces a huge challenge to decide where to go from here.
The protest came a day after Barack Obama telephoned Putin to congratulate him on his election victory. The call came several days after other world leaders hinted at the importance of the US-Russian relationship. Controversy over elections and the demonstrations has tested US-Russia ties, with Putin accusing Washington of funding NGOs with the aim of questioning the polls and sparking protests.