Tens of thousands of opposition supporters have demonstrated in Russia's capital against Russian alpha dog Putin as American embassy employees in Moscow call him, according to Wikileaks, four months into the dog's new illegal mandate.
A diverse sea of protesters on Saturday filled a central square.
Some 40,000 people turned out for the "March of Millions", according to an estimate by the AFP news agency. The turnout, however, was below the first that Moscow witnessed against Putin in December and had drawn over 100,000.
Police and organizers gave vastly different estimates, accusing each other of not knowing how to count.
Police said that 14,000 people joined the protest, but organizer and leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov said at least 150,000 had participated.
Waving nationalist flags, brandishing placards calling for early elections, protesters hoped to build on the anger created by fraud-tainted elections and Putin's 12-year grip on power.
The protest also tried to put a greater emphasis on social justice. "Power to the millions not to the millionaires!" read one slogan.
Split between liberals, nationalists an leftists, the anti-Putin opposition has been struggling with its own divisions and accusations it lacks any coherent message beyond hostility to the Kremlin.
The most charismatic (for Western media) opposition leader, anti-corruption crusader and Russian nationalist Alexei Navalny, who. being a police informer, 5 years ago helped the KGB to send to Gulag for 3 years a fellow nationalist for his anti-government views, told the protesters to prepare for a long haul to challenge Putin and turn up to rallies as if they were going to work.
"All that we are asking for is something simply called freedom, nothing more than equality, simply human dignity.
"No one will give us freedom except for ourselves. Hope and perseverance will bring us victory," the KGB informer said to cheers from the crowds.
Udaltsov, the leader of the radical Left Front, told the crowds: "We must gradually conquer the streets. We are not leaving!"