The demonstrations were organized mostly by the trade unions, Communist Party and pro-Kremlin parties.
"Today is the great holiday of solidarity of all those whose intellect and talent create the most important values in the country," Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told demonstrators in Moscow. "Today, shoulder to shoulder, all over the world, the main force comes out on the stage of history -- labor."
The liberal opposition Yabloko party also organized protest rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"Unfortunately there is not more freedom and democracy in our country than before," Yabloko Deputy Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin said in Moscow today. "On the contrary, there is much less.
There was a demonstration by trade unions in Grozny, the first May Day demonstration in Chechnya in 16 years.
May 1, a major holiday in the former Soviet Union, has been renamed in Russia Spring and Labor Day.
(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AFP)