Putin Supporters Rally Ahead of Inauguration

As police broke up an opposition rally in downtown Moscow to protest Vladimir Putin’s inauguration, supporters of the president-elect gathered at Poklonnaya Gora memorial on Sunday to mark the first anniversary since the establishment of his Peoples Front public movement.

Last year, Putin called for the creation of the All-Russia People’s Front to broaden the ruling United Russia party’s electoral base with “non-party people,” including trade unions, NGOs, business associations and youth groups.

The festivities coincide with the celebrations of Moscow Flag and Coat of Arms Day and gathered some 30,000 people.

Pop singers are performing at the festival. The participants are holding signs “I am for Putin” and banners of the United Russia Party, Young Guard movement, etc.

Opposition figures accused the authorities of coercing government employees to attend previous pro-Putin rallies.

Putin admitted earlier this year that the accusations could be true, but said the effect on crowd numbers should “not be exaggerated.”

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