Perhaps the best description of what is happening in Moscow is via the live updates blog from the Moscow Times. There is no question that Vladimir Putin is returning to power as the “firmness” of police has returned when dealing with demonstrators. Various Russian media outlets are reporting that police are meeting protesters with the characteristic brutality that was common in the pre-Medvedev years and instead of simply managing responses at the rally today, Moscow police and the Interior Ministry OMOH troops have moved aggressively onto Bolotnaya Plaza where thousands of demonstrators remain as police continue to arrest those who fail to disperse.
While the rally was issued a permit, police have moved in and begun to arrest protesters and opposition leaders Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov have been arrested already.
Russian news agency RIA is reporting that police cracked down hard on the anti-Putin rally, clubbing demonstrators and making scores of arrests after hundreds of people briefly broke through their lines in a bid to take their protest to the Kremlin walls. “Fascists!” shouted protesters as they advanced once more on police lines, holding metal crowd barriers to shield themselves. “Russia without Putin!”
The violence came on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as president. Putin secured a third term in the Kremlin at disputed elections in March.
To read a moment by moment description on the rally and police reaction, go to this link.