A protester holds a placard during a rally in central St. Petersburg.
A protester holds a placard during a rally in central St. Petersburg, January 29, 2005. A public outcry in Russia over a government plan to scrap Soviet-era benefits has emboldened Kremlin critics long muted by President Vladimir Putin's popularity and iron rule. Opposition parties, moribund a month ago, are attracting thousands to their demonstrations against the reform law, and groups that toed the Kremlin line are now breaking ranks. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk CVI/THI