Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin still enjoys the support of the majority of Russians, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with AFP news agency on Sunday after the biggest opposition protest in Moscow.
"Putin still has the support of a majority. And we should treat the opinion of a majority with respect," Peskov was quoted by AFP as saying.
Peskov also said that Putin was "beyond competition" as a candidate in the 2012 presidential polls, adding that protesters who had taken to the streets represented a minority of Russian citizens.
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied on downtown Moscow's Sakharov Avenue on Saturday to demand a rerun of the December 4 parliamentary elections they claimed had been rigged, as well as liberal reforms in Russia, turning the temperature up on Putin and his plans to return to the Kremlin.
The protesters at the massive rally in central Moscow adopted a resolution on Saturday calling for new and fair elections and open registration for all opposition parties by February 2012.
Other demands include the immediate release of all "political prisoners," referring to political activists detained during protest actions, the annulment of the December 4 parliamentary election results, which they claim were rigged in favor of the ruling United Russia party, the resignation of Central Electoral Commission chief Vladimir Churov, the prosecution of all those involved in ballot stuffing and a vote against presidential hopeful Putin next March.