A year after huge anti-Putin protests, Russian opposition refused permission for rally

Moscow authorities have refused permission for a rally marking the anti-Putin protest movement's first anniversary, but opposition leaders still intend to take to the streets this Saturday.

Moscow City Hall announced its decision on Thursday. Opposition leaders are nonetheless preparing to defy the ban and gather outside the headquarters of the FSB, the successor to the Soviet KGB.

Although more than 100,000 people protested Putin's impending return to the Kremlin last December, disillusionment with opposition leaders and the threat of arrests under a harsh new law are expected to keep numbers far lower this weekend.

Left-wing activist Sergei Udaltsov joked on Twitter that Saturday's event would resemble a small, long-running monthly unsanctioned protest where police habitually detain all participants.