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On 1991 manoeuvre anniversary, foes contend Putin has incited time back

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Kremlin foes criticized Vladimir Putin on Sunday during events commemorating a better of a manoeuvre that hastened a 1991 Soviet collapse, observant a Russian boss had topsy-turvy swell toward democracy that seemed unstoppable 21 years ago.

Opposition politicians and bland Russians pronounced a two-year jail sentences handed down to punk performers Pussy Riot for a criticism opposite Putin in a cathedral were partial of a crackdown that evoked Soviet-era uncover trials and shock tactics.

“The conditions with democracy is almost worse than it was, say, 15 years ago,” pronounced Ivan Preobrazhensky, 31, who came with his mother and 5-year-old daughter to place a flower during a medium commemorative to 3 immature group who died hostile a coup.

“We are relocating toward authoritarianism and totalitarianism,” he said, job a Pussy Riot outcome partial of a array of stairs to vanquish gainsay given Putin, in energy given 2000, won a new presidential tenure in March.

He and his family combined their flower to a waist-high raise of white carnations in front of a commemorative on an overpass above Moscow’s undiluted Garden Ring highway that reads “Defenders of democracy in Russia died here in Aug 1991″.

At a convene after behind a White House – a building where Boris Yeltsin stood on an armored car to plea a manoeuvre attempt, and now a Russian supervision domicile – speakers called for Putin to be peacefully pushed from power.

“We’re behind where we started,” pronounced 82-year-old tellurian rights romantic Sergei Kovalyov, a Soviet-era dissident.

He likened a cult of celebrity that surrounded Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin to a diagnosis Putin, a 59-year-old former KGB officer, enjoys in a state-controlled media, and started a intone of “Russia but Putin!”

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were convicted on Friday of hooliganism encouraged by eremite loathing for a “punk prayer” in that they asked a Virgin Mary to absolved Russia of Putin.

They contend a protest, that annoyed many in mostly Orthodox Christian Russia, was meant to impugn tighten ties between Putin and a Russian Orthodox Church, whose personality has likened Putin’s 12 years in energy to a “miracle of God”.

Western governments, rights groups and celebrities like Madonna have criticized a sentences as disproportionate. Opposition leaders pronounced they hoped a snub annoyed by a box around a creation competence pull some-more Russians to demonstrations starting subsequent month, re-igniting a criticism transformation that erupted in Dec over choosing rascal suspicions and annoy over Putin’s preference to lapse to a presidency.

But on Sunday a throng numbered in a hundreds, and many drivers upheld indifferently by a relic to a manoeuvre victims while a drip of people came to leave flowers, suggesting Putin’s foes face an ascending conflict branch such feelings into a critical challenge.

Galina Pimenova, 53, a housewife during a White House rally, pronounced she had attended several of a winter protests that were a biggest faced by Putin. She pronounced she saw a Pussy Riot hearing as an denote a president, who could stay in energy until 2024 if reelected to another six-year term, would never endure dissent.

“It’s shocking: This vengeful, sparse KGB male who can’t mount to hear a word oral opposite him,” she said. “I had to come here since we need an opening for my feelings.”

(Additional stating by Alissa de Carbonnel and Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)

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