More than 20,000 people attended the first "march against the villains" on sunday in downtown moscow alone, independent observers estimated. In st. Petersburg and many other cities, opponents of the government shouted "shame on the scoundrels"!"Russia without putin!"And "freedom for political prisoners!".
This first anti-government action of the year was directed against putin’s most recently signed ban on the adoption of russian children by u.S. Citizens. Prominent opposition politicians such as sergei udalzov, boris nemtsov and gennady gudkov, in addition to the many burghers, called on the kremlin to continue to allow adoptions, especially to give the many disabled among the orphans a decent future.
Putin’s spokesman dmitry peskov told the interfax agency that the president was informed about the protests. In addition, the initiators demanded the dissolution of the state duma, followed by new elections. "This is technically possible. Putin can easily find a pretext and call early elections," gudkov said. In light snowfall, hundreds of people carried placards with portraits of the duma deputies who passed the anti-U.S. Law in december.
Since the rigged election of december 2011, the parliament has been criticized by civil rights activists for creating a system of fear and oppression in russia like in soviet times with more and more authoritarian laws. Numerous activists collected signatures on sunday for new elections and for an end to the adoption ban. According to official figures, there are more than 600,000 orphans in russia, around 100,000 of whom live in homes, often under poor conditions.
In the russian capital alone, 4,000 police officers were deployed, as the media reported. The number of participants in the demonstration varied greatly from one another. The police spoke of a maximum of 9500 participants, while several opposition politicians mentioned around 50,000.
In st. Petersburg, about 1,500 people took part in the demonstration, as a reporter from the radio station echo moskwy reported. The "march against the villains" was also directed there against russian bureaucrats who violated human rights.
In december, u.S. President barack obama signed the "magnitsky act," which provides for sanctions such as entry bans against criminal russian officials. This US law goes back to the russian lawyer sergej magnitski, who died in a moscow prison. In response to the U.S. Initiative, the state duma passed an anti-magnitski law to punish U.S. Citizens.