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Russia Heading Towards Largest Confrontation in Twenty Years

December 9, 2011

By Meike Mol

AMSTERDAM – Russia is facing the largest demonstration in twenty years after Putin’s party United Russia won the Duma elections with almost half of the votes Dec. 4, as results are supected of fraud.

27 thousand people rallied on Facebook announcing  a protest in the centre of Moscow this Saturday.

Demonstrations against the suspected intrigues will be  held in various cities.

Both  Russian independent election monitors and opposition parties believe the election was sabotaged.

The opposition claims Putin only received thirty per cent of votes, while official statements announce a fifty per cent win for United Russia.

Their claims are supported by multiple testimonies, movies and pictures that circulate on the internet.

On Thursday, Putin portrayed the protests as a foreign conspiracy, accusing American secretary of state Hillary Clinton for inciting the demonstrations.

Putin also criticized ‘Golos’, an independent election monitor, stating that it forms a threat to Russian sovereignty due to its international funding.  He warned that Russia needed to prevent foreign governments from interfering with internal affairs.

Opposition group ‘Solidarity’ is granted a permit to demonstrate for Saturday, but this accounts for only 300 demonstrators.

The initial place of the protest, the Revolution square next to the Kremlin, was closed yesterday due to ‘unforeseen road constructions’. The Moscow municipality wants the protest to take place at the less central Bolotnaya square.

Organizers of the protest will only adhere to this request if the permit will be changed to allow for at least ten thousand protestors.

Vice-mayor of Moscow Akleksandr Gorbenko said earlier this week that every person exceeding the three hundred limit will be prosecuted.

Over the last days, almost a thousand protestors were arrested, amongst whom many journalists. Many state that OMON, the Russian special police force, used excessive force after the arrests took place.

Part of them has been released, but many are still in custody, waiting to get either a penalty or 15 days of detention.

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