Impressive anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow
I wonder if 300,000 Americans would come out in the dead of winter to protest anything?
Thousands of people, many laughing and sharing jokes, linked hands in a near-unbroken line around the inside of the Garden Ring, the circular road that defines central Moscow to show their desire for fair elections.
The action - which was billed as a leaderless and apolitical "act of unity" rather than a rally in order to avoid laws that require political demonstrations to obtain permission from the city authorities - passed off peacefully, but 10 people were later arrested after trying to hold a politically-themed celebration of maslinitsa - the Russian version of pancake day - on a central square near the Kremlin.
It was the latest in a series of tens-of-thousands-strong demonstrations calling for clean elections and Prime Minister Mr Putin's ouster that have hit the Russian capital since alleged fraud at parliamentary elections last December.
Many dressed in white or wore the white ribbons of the "fair elections" movement that has erupted in the three months since flawed parliamentary elections in December.
Those without ribbons waved white balloons, scarves and even plastic bags at passing cars that honked their support for the action. One prominent human rights activist even brought a white cat.
Polls show that Putin will cruise to an easy win - probably an accurate reflection of voter sentiment, although Putin may be temped to pad the margin of victory a bit. The fact is, the majority of Russians may not like him very much, but he has revitalized the economy to a certain extent. Considering the hellish experience many Russians had during the Yeltsin years with disappearing pensions and high unemployment, many of the people appear willing to put up with Putin's authoritarianism in exchange for some economic stability.