On May 7, 2012, the inauguration of Russian President V. V. Putin. Since numerous violations were recorded during the elections, opposition leaders declared the newly elected president illegitimate and proposed to hold a protest rally on May 6 under the slogan "Let's not let a thief into the Kremlin."
Bolotnaya and Manezhnaya squares were offered as the venue for the action. A member of the Solidarity movement, Mark Halperin, pointed out Manezhnaya Square in his statement to the rally. The city authorities refused, although, according to the law on rallies, the consent of the authorities is not required - the organizers only need to notify the place and time of the rally. Halperin urged his supporters to come to Manezhka and express their attitude to the current political situation there.
S. Udaltsov from the Left Front and well-known blogger A. Navalny, author of the meme “party of crooks and thieves”, have applied to hold a “March of Millions” from the Oktyabrskaya metro station to Bolotnaya Square, where a rally is to take place. The consent of the city authorities for the time and place of the action was obtained.
Information about the "March" quickly spread across the Internet. Oppositional citizens were going to come to Moscow on May 7 from other cities. Social media discussions were monitored by law enforcement officials. As a result, protesters from other cities (Ryazan, St. Petersburg) were detained on the outskirts of the city. The station was evacuated in Ufa.
The march started at approximately 16:00. On the outskirts of Bolotnaya Square, the police blocked the entrance to the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, leaving a narrow passage. A huge mass of people could not squeeze into the "bottleneck" - the majority did not even suspect about it. As a result, a huge traffic jam was formed - the back rows were pushing, the front rows had nowhere to go. Mobile phones didn’t work with such a crowd of users. The loudspeakers were no longer audible at a distance of ten meters. The organizers had no other means of communication, like walkie-talkies.
Udaltsov and Navalny demanded that the police remove the barriers and cordons and allow citizens to attend an agreed meeting. The police ignored the demands. To prevent crushing and self-mutilation in the crowd, Udaltsov gave the order to sit down on the ground through a loudspeaker. The front rows heard him and sat down, but the movement of the rest of the column continued. Some of the protesters infiltrated Bolotnaya through a narrow passage left by the police.
As the crush continued, the fences were pulled down. Clashes between protesters and riot police began. The police used pepper gas, in response, materials at hand - cans, plastic bottles, sticks - flew out of the crowd … There is reason to believe that provocateurs were at work. The NTV film crew also suffered - their car was thrown with rubbish. Thus, the demonstrators expressed their attitude to the film "Anatomy of a Protest", filmed by this channel.
Harsh detentions of protesters began, including Navalny, Udaltsov and Nemtsov. Several riot police officers were injured. 17 participants of the march were hospitalized. By 20:00 Bolotnaya Square was cleared of protesters. Some of them moved to Manezhnaya Square, some marched along Bolshaya Ordynka towards the Kremlin. The detentions continued. In total, about 500 people were detained. The "March", according to the organizers and the media, gathered about 50,000 participants.
On the same day, a meeting of the All-Russian Popular Front was held on Poklonnaya Gora from 18:00 to 19:00. According to the police, about 30,000 people gathered, according to the estimates of journalists and bloggers - about 3,000. The rally was held peacefully, without violations. Those present were holding flags of United Russia, Young Guard, Russian Post, as well as posters in support of V. V. Putin. Exactly at the appointed time, the participants dispersed in a disciplined manner.