Sharply lacking were the numbers Louis Vuitton handbags and the passion.
Less than a week after Putin was declared the overwhelming winner in Russia's presidential vote, about 10,000 people joined Saturday's march, a shadow of the 100,000-strong marches in Moscow in the last three months after disputed parliamentary elections.
The crowd seemed to be largely going through the motions, with none of the typical high-note ardor in echoing "yes" and "no" to the anti-Putin incantations coming from the speakers' stage.
"I have a strong feeling that the movement I have been enjoying so much is skidding," said Nikita Grishin, a curly-haired 18-year-old physics student at Moscow University. "I think people are simply in despair, as none of our demands have been met and Putin doesn't seem to care about what we think and what we say here."
His friend, 20-year-old bartender Andrei Tokar, said that most of his friends and relatives are indifferent to Russian politics.
"They don't believe their participation can change anything," Tokar said. "My mother joined me at a protest rally last December, but this time she said, 'It is all useless.' People don't have a real fighting spirit nowadays and they so easily lose hope."
Onstage, speakers dutifully complained about election fraud and the authorities' craftiness and cynicism, but the sharp edge was gone from their speeches, as though they wanted to be done with this protest as quickly as possible so they could go home and analyze their failure to contain Putin at the polls once again.
Their tales of run-ins with electoral fraud had gucci bags the sense of punching the air with their fists after the fight was long over.
The ranks of the speakers also showed gaping holes, with no appearances by some of the popular showmen, writers and poets who had added so much color to the previous opposition gatherings.
Two of the most eloquent and popular leaders, former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and charismatic blogger Alexei Navalny, didn't address the thinning crowd. Navalny was spotted yards away from the speakers' platform rubbing shoulders with the crowd, and Nemtsov was nowhere to be seen.
Opposition leaders denied that the protests were fading, arguing that it was a temporary, and tactical, intermission.
"We need to get used to the idea that we are running a political marathon here," said Ilya Yashin, an opposition leader briefly detained by the authorities after a protest Monday. "We are just regrouping to keep ourselves in shape to last the entire distance."
His opposition colleague, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, said there would be no more protests until Putin's inauguration date, May 7.
"We have switched over to the tactics of prolonged protest struggle," Kasyanov said. "We all wanted success too soon, but it didn't come overnight."
After his victory last weekend, a jubilant Putin said that he would be ready for a dialogue with the opposition but that it lacked a coherent program.
"They need to present programs of real positive development," Putin said last week. "To cry that 'watch out, the train is gone and the railway station has moved away too' is of course interesting, but we need to move forward in this train."
At least two of the demonstrators in Novy Arbat Street on Saturday seemed to share Putin's pessimism about the protest movement. Two young men carried a large poster that read: "The opposition lacks Cheap lv womens handbags 2012 new arrival check brown on sale a leader and a program!"