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Putin and Medvedev try to calm opposition after election fraud

December 14, 2011

By Willem PlasterkImage

AMSTERDAM – On Monday afternoon several thousands protesters marched in the streets of Moscow , to support the ‘United Russia’, the party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and president Dmitri Medvedev, only two days after the nationalistic protests in Moscow on Saturday.


On Saturday, a year after a violent nationalistic protest, the biggest protest in Moscow since the fall of the Soviet-Union was held, on the same spot as the previous year.


Over 50,000 demonstrated on Saturday, following the parliamentary election in which Putin’s party won nearly 50 percent of the vote, which led to nation wide    allegations of fraud. The government had no choice to accept the protest and granted a license. Even though there was a massive police force, including bulldozers, helicopters and troop carriers, no detentions were reported.


Other simultaneous protests took place in over 50 cities, with a reported 7,000 in St Petersburg and 4,000 in Novosibirsk, despite the temperature of -20C


The demonstrations indicated what the opposition hopes to be the end of years of quiet acceptance Putin has introduced. If Putin was to be reelected for a six-year term, he will have been Russia’s leader for 18 years.


In a response to the protest, Medvedev wrote: “I do not

agree with the slogans or speeches made at the protests. Nonetheless, I have given the instruction to investigate all messages from polling stations related to the following of electoral law” The response provoked anger of the opposition, as no statement was made about which state body would carry out the investigation, nor the time limit and potential consequences of the investigation.


The protesters promise to gather an even larger crowd again on another protest Dec. 24, if the Kremlin refuses to annul the result, which was confirmed by the election commission on Friday.


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