Feel guilty about this, the clash that is, between the urgency of doing Christmas shopping before I go back to London next week, and the desire to show solidarity with the protests here. So I went shopping, but via Revolution Square (not Bolotnaya Square where the mass of people were) to see what was going on and to momentarily join the small crowd there listening to speeches, despite a legal ban on using that particular space. The atmosphere was calm, almost jolly, very like many similar public demonstrations I have been part of in London.
So - what an amazing sign of something happening here, of a proper large-scale peaceful public response to 'the party of crooks and thieves' almost for the first time. But, then the pessimism sets in. The government's response shows that they have quickly learnt lessons from western governments. Just let it all happen. Police it firmly but non-provocatively. That way public anger can be defused and then (probably) safely ignored, in all its importance and futility.