Youth Don White Gloves for Putin

With white gloves, pro-Kremlin activists illustrating the slogan “V means Vladimir, V means victory” on Thursday. Vladimir Andreyev

It's the white glove vs. the white ribbon.

Pro-Kremlin youth groups announced Thursday that they would adopt a white glove as their symbol at a series of rallies intended to counter anti-Kremlin rallies over alleged vote fraud at the Dec. 4 State Duma elections.

Many of the 40,000 to 60,000 disgruntled voters who rallied on Bolotnaya Ploshchad on Dec. 10 wore white ribbons as a symbol of their protest against election fraud.

"We will not farm out our votes to revanchist and marginal people," Anton Demidov, leader of Young Russia, told a dozen reporters, photographers and television cameras at a street news conference.

"The minority who won in 1991 will not win again," Demidov said in a reference to the Soviet collapse.

Rank-and-file activists stood in groups chatting and shivering with cold as five youth group leaders spoke for more than an hour in front of a banner reading: "V means Vladimir, V means victory."

The activists — wearing white gloves distributed shortly before the news conference near a statue of Fyodor Dostoevsky — said they wanted to help Prime Minister Vladimir Putin win election as president in March.

Demidov likened opposition leaders to the tsarist-era revolutionary democrats depicted as "demons" in Dostoevsky's novel of the same name.

Maxim Mishchenko, a former leader of Young Russia, a former State Duma deputy and current Public Chamber member, told The Moscow Times that the planned rallies would be directed at opposition leaders who receive money from the U.S. State Department. He identified those leaders as including Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Eduard Limonov.

Mishchenko promised that the rallies would be peaceful.

SUP Media, the owner of LiveJournal, meanwhile, suspended more than 30 accounts belonging to members of the new white glove alliance, formally called the Headquarters of United Actions, for attempting to manipulate their ratings, RIA-Novosti reported.

Demidov said the suspension showed that "a Russian-American campaign has started." He didn't elaborate.

Igor Gribanov, leader of Noviye Lyudi, or New People, based in the Volga Federal District, said his group has decided to join the alliance even though civic activism in the regions is low "because people have no time to waste on such nonsense."

An activist, Konstantin Tsepov, 20, said he was waiting for orders to "solve issues linked to the election" of Putin in March and to "solve problems."

A female activist refused to talk to a reporter, saying, "We have a press secretary."

Read more