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One More Cup Of Coffee To Stay Warm At The Rally

  • RFE/RL

Russian pro-democracy protesters are expected to brave Arctic temperatures for a demonstration on February 4.

Russian pro-democracy protesters are expected to brave Arctic temperatures for a demonstration on February 4.

Russian protesters coming out this weekend to urge a political thaw will have to face a literal deep freeze.

As the country's fair-elections protests continue on February 4, temperatures across the country are frigid to say the least.

Thermometers in Moscow are expected to hover around minus 18 degrees Celsius or so in the mid-afternoon on the day of the demonstration.

Nonetheless, organizers of the mass demonstrations calling for an annulment of the results of the December parliamentary elections, the dismissal of Central Election Commission head Vladimir Churov, and for a fair presidential election on March 4 are hoping to see tens or even hundreds of thousands out in the streets.

They have promised to keep the speeches short, which may be easier said than done.

Helpful Maps

The online magazine "Bolshoi gorod" has published a helpful map of places where the clamoring masses can stamp their feet or tuck into a bowl of borscht.

The map includes cafes, restaurants, churches, and stores that, hopefully, will be open during the march. It also features a few embassies that marchers will be able to spot on their hike, but it is hard to imagine the embassy of Uzbekistan's authoritarian President Islam Karimov throwing open its gates and offering bread and salt to Russia's democracy advocates.

One of the maps from "Bolshoi gorod"

One of the maps from "Bolshoi gorod"

"Bolshoi gorod" also interviewed managers at some of the eateries along the way and, based on that unscientific sample, the place to be is Apartment 44, where every marcher who orders a bowl of borscht will get a free shot of vodka. They've laid in a stock of plastic cups for activists who want their tea or coffee to go.

For those watching from home, one of the big issues with these demonstrations is estimating the crowd size. Moscow police are notorious for issuing crowd counts that mysteriously go up and down depending on whether the chants are "Putin, get out!" or "Putin, we love you!"

To help you out, one website has posted a handy interactive graphic where you can play around with crowds of different sizes and it will tell you roughly how many people there are. If organizers manage to fill the entire route of the march, the graphic estimates the crowd will have reached 200,000 people.

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