Tens of Thousands Attend Pro-Putin Rally in Moscow
Tens of thousands of Russian people marched on Thursday along the Moscow River in the capital of the Russian Federation in a rally supporting the bid for a new term in office of the prime minister Vladimir Putin. He was expected to deliver a speech in front of 100,000 of his supporters who gathered in the Luzhniki stadium.
Washington Post reports that many of these people appeared to be state employees in attendance at the request of their employers, including teachers, municipal workers, and employees of state companies. Some of them were said to have affirmed that they received two days off in exchange for their participation.
The rally is seen as a response to the opposition protests, which have gain the support of the middle class and the young urban professionals. The election is scheduled for March 4, and Putin is said to win for sure.
Still, he has been facing different forms of protests, varying from unrest provoked by the parliamentary elections in December, when people accused the government of having rigged the vote, to accusations formulated by the opposition, who accused him of using the political office of prime minister to foster his campaign.
Putin responded with the refuse to rerun elections and to the refuse to resign the office of prime minister for the duration of the presidential campaign. He added the prime minister had work to do, and even announced he would not participate in the electoral debates, for the same reason that it was time for action not for discussion.
Since the campaign began, Putin made several decisions, especially on international level, that could be construed as fostering his bid for presidency.
Thus, last week he announced that Russia would increase to $772 billion its military spending, in a bid to fortify Russia’s military position in a world that is locked in a war for domination of the resources of the planet.
The defense budget increase, while criticized by some political leaders as bringing the national budget to the breaking point, is thought to convince the 10 million Russians who work in the military to vote for him.
Putin also made very strong accusation against the NATO anti-missile shield deployed in Eastern Europe and threatened that Russia will respond to this defense system with a system of its own.
The stance of the Russian Federation on the matter of Syrian situation is also seen as a form of asserting Russia’s international might. Russia has opposed two UN Security Council resolutions, causing a lot of dissatisfaction on the part of the Western countries. People in the restive cities of Syria have protested the support for Assad’s regime, and accused Russia of killing their children.
Another promise Putin has made to the Russians is the creation of a Eurasian Union, which could convince the nostalgic of the former Soviet Union to vote for him. Putin described this Eurasian Union proposal as a union that is different from the former Soviet country, more of a modern and economic-oriented union than a political one. If all goes well, Putin promised, the union should become operational by 2015.
Confronted with the first protests in 12 years of ruling, Putin promised that Russia will have an economy capable of absorbing any possible shock the world economy may bring. He also promised less brutality from the enforcement agencies and a different approach on human rights observance.
Putin is running for president against four challengers, who pose little threat to him. The newcomer is Mikhail Prokhorov, an oil billionaire, whose candidacy is seen as a Kremlin-approved bid. The veteran leader of the liberal party Yabloko was denied the right to run for president.
Protesters against Putin’s regime promised to organize a huge rally against him during the week that precedes the vote.11