Will we every know the truth about how many cars participated in Moscow’s road rally Sunday afternoon?
Likely not. The official police tally is 150. Organizers claim over 2,000.
At least one side is not being truthful because we have access to over 400 separate car photos from the event and those were taken from a limited area. Already the Russian blog world is filled with photos we don’t have so the count was far past 400.
Drivers were asked to decorate their cars with anything white and to display a ribbon. Some drivers did just that and some went further. Some of the signs were funny and some were rude. While we don’t feel that government officials deserves rudeness, some of the signs displayed a level of anger and frustration that has not always been seen in Russian voters.
A pro-Putin march had taken place earlier in the day at another Moscow location. The opposition road rally began at 3pm Moscow time.
The model of cars ranged from Mercedes to old Ladas. The weather cooperated with only mild snow flurries later in the day and moderate temperatures for this time of year.
Again we were surprised at some of the age groups represented in this rally. Adults over 50 have generally been thought to be solidly in the Putin camp or aligned with the Communist party.
One playful driver took a direct stab at Mr. Putin by decorating his car with American dollar bills and put a sign in the window saying госдеп (Russian for USA Department of State). Prime Minister Putin as of late has charged that the USA is paying for these protests.
A few drivers mocked the government and police by taping blue buckets to the top of their cars. Police issue special blue lights to government officials and certain privileged individuals so that they can move quickly past traffic jams while ordinary drives must yield to cars with a blue light.
Drivers in other Russian cities participated as well.