About 8,000 people gathered in central Moscow to rally for fair elections, the day before Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is sworn in for a third term as Russia’s president, according to police estimates.
That’s more than the 5,000 people that organizers and city officials agreed would participate in a deal was reached after protests peaked at tens of thousands in February.
Putin, who has been prime minister or president since 1999, won a third term in March elections with 64 percent of the vote. That followed December polls that saw his United Russia party maintain its majority in parliament. Both elections were criticized by international observers as unfair.
The pro-Putin People’s Front group is also planning a rally today to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Putin’s inauguration for is scheduled for noon tomorrow.