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Tens Of Thousands Back Putin In Russia Rally Battle

Supporters of presidential candidate Vladimir Putin rally in Vladivostok on February 18.
Tens of thousands of Vladimir Putin's supporters have backed his bid for the presidency in rallies across Russia.

At least 50,000 people attended rallies in European Russia, Siberia, and the Far East supporting Putin's candidacy for a third Kremlin term in March 4 polls.

Russian news agencies say at least 10,000 people attended a rally in St. Petersburg, while 12,000 people turned out in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.

Rallies attended by at least 10,000 people also took place in cities including Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, and Novosibirsk.

Several thousand attended events in Vladivostok and Irkutsk.

A giant pro-Putin rally is scheduled for February 23 in Moscow that organizers hope will muster 200,000 people.

The opposition has accused the authorities of using the state's resources to encourage people to show up for the Putin rallies.

Compiled from agency reports