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MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of people protested in Russia’s Far East on Saturday in a rare display of opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin in the country’s vast hinterland, chanting “Putin Resign” and demanding the release of a regional governor arrested this past week on suspicion of multiple murders.
The protests in Khabarovsk, a city bordering China, and several other towns were the largest in Russia’s usually somnolent provinces in many years, rivaling or even exceeding in size demonstrations last summer in Moscow, the main center of opposition to the Kremlin.
Unlike streets protests in Moscow, which the authorities can easily discredit as the work of a privileged metropolitan elite led astray by Russia’s enemies in the West, the outburst of anger against Mr. Putin in a hardscrabble region nearly 4,000 miles east of the capital presented an unusual and potentially more troublesome challenge.
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