Thousands of Russian youths, newly politicized by what they see as a violation of human rights, stood with a crowd of up to 50,000 people in central Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square to challenge election results that keep Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party in power.

The country’s election commission confirmed that United Russia won 49 percent of the vote. Protests took place in more than 50 cities with thousands gathering in St. Petersburg and in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on a brutally cold day. –ARK

The Guardian:

The protesters largely represented Russia’s growing middle class – urban, educated professionals dismayed with Putin’s soft authoritarianism, something that became an open subject of discussion after he announced in September he would run in the presidential vote on 4 March following four years as prime minister. Putin has already served two terms as president, stepping down in favour of his protégé Dmitry Medvedev because of a constitutional ban on serving more than two consecutive terms.

“My patience has spilled over,” said David, 24. “They have to listen to us: the leadership takes however much room for manoeuvre we give them and now they have less.”

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