Authors: Joshua Cohan
(MOSCOW) -- Tensions are running high in Moscow after protest leaders' homes were raided on the eve of another massive anti-Putin rally.
Police stormed the homes of several prominent Russian protest leaders on Monday morning, part of an investigation into attacks on riot police during last month's anti-Putin rally.
The opposition, however, says the raids were a pre-emptive strike by President Vladimir Putin to intimidate the opposition on the eve of another massive rally planned for Tuesday. Some 50,000 people are expected to turn out.
Last week a dozen people were arrested and charged with attacks on police during the May 6 rally.
The Russian parliament also passed controversial legislation that dramatically increased fines for unsanctioned protests. The fines are now at least 100-times greater, which is seen as another attempt to discourage more protests again Putin.
Such large demonstrations against Putin would have been unimaginable just nine months ago, but the movement has been at a crossroad since Putin won a third term as president in March.
Organizers are divided about the best way forward as they try to answer some key questions: How long do they keep protesting, is it even effective anymore, and how long will large crowds continue to join them? At least some of those questions could be answered on Tuesday, when it will become clear whether Putin's pre-emptive strike has been successful.
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