They began to arrive in the wee morning hours, bused in from locations all over this part of Russia as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was determined to have a larger crowd than the recent opposition rallies.
The Moscow Times reported that more than 800 state workers from the faraway Urals region of Sverdlovsk were flown to Moscow for the rally. Arriving from both far and near, it wasn’t long before long lines of buses stacked near Luzhniki Stadium where leaders organized them into groups for the day’s rally.
Although unable to find time away from the job to debate opposition candidates on TV, somehow the Prime Minister was able to breakaway from the job in order to attend the rally. In a fiery speech on the public holiday for honouring men and military veterans, Mr. Putin appealed to Russian nationalists at Luzhniki stadium, telling them that “The battle for Russia continues, the victory will be ours. We will not allow anyone to impose their will on us. We have our own will and this has always helped us be victorious. “We are a victorious nation. This is in our genes. This is in our genetic code.”
The tone of the speech wasn’t that important to some rally participants, however. One TV station reported on a group of young girls who had attended the rally because they were instructed to do so, but seemed more interested in talking to others around them about coats, scarfs and Justin Timberlake boots.
Security officials at Moscow City Hall said that the Interior Ministry had deployed around 10,000 police for the rally.
Those aligned with the Communist part however have stepped back from both sides of the campaign, focusing instead on their goal of a Communist victory and reintroduction of the Soviet Union using the theme За великую Россию и СССР 2.0! (For a great Russia and the Soviet Union, version 2.0)