Authorities said 25,000 people attended a pro-Putin rally yesterday in Russia, but the real number was "not even close" to that amount, reports the New York Times—and many of the attendees weren't there of their own free will. "Apparently it’s our duty. We’re supposed to make up the masses," says an accountant who claims she was "forced to come." Another, amid expletives, complained that classes were canceled in order for students to attend.
The rally was planned for United Russia, the country's governing party, in the wake of this weekend's massive anti-Kremlin protest alleging electoral fraud. But rather than showing the government's strength, the rally didn't even see enough attendees to fill the small square in which it was held. Reuters puts the number at 5,000 at most. During the rally, officials gave speeches, repeating Putin's claim that the US is provoking the protests. (Read more United Russia stories.)