Prime Minister Vladimir Putin still has the support of the majority in Russia, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said after the biggest opposition protest yet
against his domination of the country.
Peskov said that Russians should "treat the opinion of a majority with respect."
Meanwhile, Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, on December 24 urged Putin to follow his example and step down.
Speaking in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Gorbachev said that if Putin heeded protesters' demands and stepped down now, he would be remembered for the positive things he did during his 12 years in power.
Gorbachev's remarks came after tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Moscow and other Russian cities on December 24 in the largest protest to date against alleged fraud in the December 4 parliamentary elections.
PHOTO GALLERY: The best Russian protest signs:
compiled from agency reports