Dec. 25 - After tens of thousands rallied all over Russia, Moscow residents hope the authorities will react reasonably. Sunita Rappai reports.
Russia's capital Moscow - a day after thousands across the country staged protests calling for new parliamentary elections. Many here say they support the protesters' demands but are unsure how they will affect the country. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MUSCOVITE ALEXANDER SAYING: "I see here soldiers and policemen, and so on. In principle it's difficult to say for sure, but the authorities seem to rely mostly on force, however don't know what they think about." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MUSCOVITE YELENA SAYING: "As usual, the president and the premier Putin have just said that there was a bunch of some people rallying, and I don't think anything will be changed. But at least they will hear our voice. At least they will react somehow to it. I hope so." Political analyst Dmitry Creshkin says President Vladimir Putin risks losing touch amid the protests. SOUNDBITE) (Russian) POLITICAL ANALYST DMITRY ORESHKIN SAYING: "The situation is changing for what Putin has been by all means trying to avoid at the beginning of his rule. It is becoming unclear and unpredictable, it is becoming competitive. And all Putin's activity was aimed exactly at eliminating any political competition, at substituting it with some kind of tame and manipulatable parties. He did it all perfectly and as result of it, this whole system has suddenly become unacceptable for the citizens." Tens of thousands of flag-waving and chanting protesters took to the streets on Saturday over disputed parliamentary elections, increasing pressure on President Vladimir Putin as he seeks a new term. They are the biggest opposition demonstrations since Putin rose to power 12 years ago. Sunita Rappai, Reuters