Support The Moscow Times!

Hundreds of Drivers Call for Fair Elections

A car with a worm strapped to the back joining hundreds of cars driving around the Garden Ring Road during a rally for fair elections Sunday. The banner reads, “Yellow earthworm: Give back the stolen votes.” Igor Tabakov

Hundreds of cars with white ribbons, banners and balloons drove around Moscow's Garden Ring Road on Sunday afternoon to demand fair elections and urge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to step down.

The cars — ranging from cheap Russian makes to expensive foreign models — started rallying at 2 p.m. at the event, dubbed "White Ring," which urged people to participate in a Feb. 4 march in downtown Moscow.

White is the color adopted by the protest movement that emerged from December's disputed State Duma elections.

Along with standard posters like "Freedom" and "For Fair Elections," cars on Sunday carried banners with slogans like "Put Out" and "Stop the Botox," a reference to rumors that Putin uses the substance for cosmetic procedures aimed at making him look younger.

One car flew a white banner between two wooden poles reading, "Yellow earthworm: Give back the stolen votes." Harnessed to the poles was a long orange pillow that vaguely resembled a worm.

Some members of the opposition have nicknamed Putin a yellow earthworm after he likened himself to Kaa, the large, wise python from Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book," in his televised call-in show in December.

Some car passengers waved white pieces of paper out of car windows, while onlookers showed their support by holding up papers and waving.

The police said 300 cars participated in the rally, RIA-Novosti reported.

But more than 2,200 people signed up for the event on Facebook. The Yandex Probki road monitoring service indicated traffic jams around the Garden Ring on Sunday afternoon — an unusual occurence on the weekend day.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.