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POLITICSRSS

© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Colorful car rallies run rings round the Kremlin

by Alina Lobzina at 20/02/2012 17:03

 

Bikini-clad ladies and South Park-style portrait of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became the highlight of a car rally held in his support in Moscow on Saturday night.

A rival rally staged by oppositionists earlier the same day failed to demonstrate any outstanding creative ideas, but even their regular protest symbols were frowned upon by the police this time round, according to activists.

Police suggested that the pro-Putin rally drew about 2,000 vehicles, while the rival rally had just 150 cars. The organizers of both motorized flash mobs put the numbers at 5,000 and 2,000 for the pro-Putin and anti-Putin rallies respectively.

 

Bikini girls

Other mass events in support of the prime minister’s presidential bid were held all over Russia and drew 234,000 people according to organizers, but bundled up crowds of middle-aged state employees and workers were less impressive than just five girls wearing very little in sub-zero temperatures.

Pictures of barely dressed young ladies in a car emblazoned with a slogan “three times is OK for a real man” spread through blogs and the media.

One of the girls identified herself as Anastasiya Korchevskaya, who was reported to be a member of pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi. Popular blogger Rustem Adagamov said he received a message from Korchevskaya after he posted her pictures online.

At least one accident was reported by rally witnesses, according to Kommersant, after a blue Toyota with sticker “Putin behind the wheel” unexpectedly stopped and was hit by another car participating in the rally. The two drivers were event organizers and decided not to call the police.

Slogans “Putin rulezz,” “For Putin and that’s it,” “I came from Vladimir to support Vladimir,” “I’m driving the PM to presidency” were other samples of the Putin boosters’ creative works.

 

‘Non-existent traffic rules violations’

Members of the For Fair Elections movement, which emerged after widespread allegations of parliamentary vote rigging in December, claimed their initial plans were ruined by traffic limitations introduced by traffic police and a number of provocations stages by other motorists.

“Nearly all turns from the Garden and Boulevard rings have been blocked, or traffic lights turn on for just few seconds,” Pyotr Shkumatov, member of the Blue Bucket movement, which has been listed as one of the rally’s organizers, told Interfax.

And several cars were stopped by road policemen because of “non-existent traffic rules violations.” Shkumatov was among those who had to pay a fine for breaching goods transportation rules for fixing a blue bucket on the rooftop of his vehicle, the agency reported.

A number of cars with white ribbons, another popular sign of the For Fair Election Movement, tried to block the way for other vehicles, which lead to some traffic congestions, Shkumatov said.

Traffic problems, however, also appeared when the rally was first held in Moscow earlier this month.

Similar rallies were carried out in a number of locations, including Russia’s major cities St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and Samara among others. 

 

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