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The unprecedented protests against his rule erupted after December’s parliamentary elections, which the opposition said were rigged in favor of United Russia.

But many Russians remain suspicious of the protest leaders, whose politics range from Mr. Udaltsov’s far-left beliefs to the ultra-right agendas of a host of outlawed nationalist organizations.

“I am glad that they have woken people up and made them realize that they have the power to change things,” said housewife Olga Kucherenko, 29. “But I’m not entirely sure if they are suited to ruling the country.”