‘Putin `still has majority support` in Russia’

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin still has the support of the majority in Russia, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2011, 21:31 PM IST

Moscow: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin still has the support of the majority in Russia, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday after the biggest opposition protest yet against his domination of the country.

"As a politician and a presidential candidate, Putin still has the support of a majority. And we should treat the opinion of a majority with respect," Peskov said after tens of thousands packed an avenue in Moscow yesterday in a mass opposition protest.

He added that Putin was "beyond competition" as a candidate in March 2012 presidential polls, where the Russian strongman plans to stand for a third Kremlin term after his four-year stint as prime minister.

"It is obvious that Putin is still a member of the presidential race beyond competition," said Peskov.

He acknowledged that the protest had taken place and said the demonstrators` position was to be treated with respect.

"Indeed, a protest took place. It was a peaceful protest in accordance with law which causes respect."

"As far as their demands are concerned, their opinion is being heard and their opinion is being respected. Those people who came out onto the streets, they are a very important part of society. But they are a minority."

PTI