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Multiple Sources: Vote Rigging and Protests in Russia


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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of encouraging protests over Russia's parliamentary election and said hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign funds were used to influence the vote.

In his first public remarks about demonstrations by protesters alleging Sunday's vote was fraudulent and unfair,

Putin said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "gave a signal" to Kremlin opponents.

"She set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work," Putin said on Thursday.

Putin's United Russia party won the elections but lost a significant share of its seats in the polls.

Thousands have taken to the streets since Monday and authorities say about 900 people have been arrested.

I'm seeing some folks in Russia saying today will be a big protest day.

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They just showed live footage of the protests on CNN.

Here's some updating info from MSNBC:


Updated at 6:15 am ET: Police say at least 15,000 people have gathered in Moscow's central Bolotnaya Square to protest about alleged electoral fraud and against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, The Associated Press reports.

Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET: Organizers of the anti-vote fraud protest in Moscow claim 85,000 people are in the crowd; Russian civic organization estimates there are 50,000 people, Tony Halpin, Moscow correspondent for U.K. newspaper The Times, says in a message on Twitter. "It's definitely more than 35k who said they'd come on Facebook," he writes.

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Russia’s opposition unites in massive anti-Putin protest

On the heels of the biggest protests Russia has seen in nearly 20 years, the country’s resurgent opposition has given the Kremlin an ultimatum Annul the Dec. 4 election that many see as marred by fraud and call a fresh vote, or face even larger protests in the weeks to come. That is, if the country’s fractious opposition can maintain its new-found unity that long.

Moscow’s streets – normally bustling with everything but politics – are set to see a flurry of rallies between now and the opposition’s Dec. 24 deadline for a new election date to be set. The opposition also wants to see Vladimir Churlov, chairman of the country’s Central Elections Commission, fired and replaced. He is accused of overseeing systemic fraud, including ballot-box stuffing, voter intimidation and barring all but a handful of officially approved parties from taking part.

The opposition’s demands come on the heels of a breakthrough protest Saturday that saw tens of thousands of people from across the political spectrum gather peacefully within sight of the Kremlin walls to demand new elections. While the crowd was largely young and middle class and organized primarily via Facebook, flags representing liberal democratic and social democratic parties, as well as hard-right nationalists, hard-left communists and a handful of anarchists, were all raised, speaking to the internal divisions that were not quite put aside for the day.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says his government won't allow 'provocateurs and extremists' to upset Russia's stability - AP 1 hour ago

More: Medvedev proposes sweeping reform of Russian political system including direct election of regional governors - Reuters 1 hour ago

Not sure what exactly this is in reference to, but it sounds interesting.


I liked the camera man who cut to Surkov looking shifty when Medvedev promised to free up television. 27 minutes ago
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More than 50,000 people have pledged on Facebook to attend protest rally in Moscow tomorrow. Must be a record in Runet history. 1 hour ago


Russia test-fires two new nuclear missiles http://reut.rs/thFynl

17 minutes ago


Russia test fires Bulava missiles, Defense Ministry spokesman says - @ria_novosti http://bit.ly/rEAnge 13 minutes ago
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Russians gather for new mass rallies

A human rights group set up by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for snap elections, as thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country to protest against the results of the country's disputed December 4 polls.

The Kremlin's rights panel also called for the resignation of the election chief on Saturday in statement on what it called "discredited" polls that have sparked the mass demonstrations.

The recommendations by the panel - which advises Medvedev on rights and social issues - are not binding but will add to pressure on the authorities for radical changes in the wake of the polls.

It said that there was "mass distrust of the poll results" which showed fallen support for Vladimir Putin's United Russia party but still gave it a majority in parliament.

The Kremlin panel added that new election laws should be put in place "with the aim of then calling snap elections" to replace the current parliament that met for its first session on Wednesday.

"Numerous reports of ballot stuffing, re-writing of protocols of ballot results, an unjustified removal of observers and journalists [from polling stations], a ban on photography and video recording and other violations of electoral rights as well as inexplicable paradoxes of electoral statistics lead to mass distrust of the poll results," the rights panel statement said.

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Tens of Thousands Gather in Moscow to Protest

MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Moscow on Saturday afternoon for a second large anti-government demonstration, as a wave of new activists struggle to convert an inchoate burst of energy into a durable political force.

The crowd began forming more than an hour before the beginning of the protest, for which city authorities granted a permit for up to 50,000 people. Organizers estimated the crowd at 120,000; the police offered a lower estimate of about 29,000.

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Calls for Putin to resign flood campaign website

Calls for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign and drop his presidential bid flooded his campaign website within minutes of its launch on Thursday, prompting administrators to limit public access.

Putin's spokesman and campaign official Dmitry Peskov said the website fell victim to a hacker attack in its early hours and some of the anti-Putin messages were spam. He denied that any messages were blacklisted for political reasons.

"All this fuss with calls for resignation is a kind of computer game that children are playing at. It has nothing to do with constructive dialogue," Peskov said.

Putin also unveiled his draft program for the March presidential poll, which acknowledged Russians' desire for faster change but barely touched on issues such as corruption and political reform, the subject of many voters' complaints.


Things Vladimir Putin is not too busy for

Taking time off for debates would "undoubtedly impede his ability to duly carry out his duties", [spokesman] Dmitriy Peskov told Russian media.

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Putin critic barred from Russia elections

Russia's central election commission has disqualified the sole liberal challenger to Vladimir Putin from the March 4 presidential ballot, in a move slammed by the opposition as undermining the legitimacy of the polls.

The commission said on Friday it could not accept about a quarter of the registration signatures gathered by Grigory Yavlinsky, founder of the Yabloko (Apple) party, because they were either photocopies of originals or fakes.

"I am sad to announce that we will not able to register Yavlinsky as a candidate," Sergei Danilenko, election commission member, told a special hearing.

Russia's presidential election rules have grown progressively stricter since 1996 and now require all independent candidates to collect two million signatures to win registration.

Putin had doubled the number of signatures required for candidates' registration in 2004, a year in which he stepped up his campaign to centralise power by also announcing an end to direct elections for regional governors.

The presidential election rules were tightened again in 2007 when Putin was about to hand power to his hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev, giving candidates just a month to rally their support instead of the previous three.

The vote is now set to feature Putin and three leaders of nominally opposition parties who all lost presidential elections before, as well as the billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov.
Yavlinsky, who was shown winning less than three per cent of the vote in most polls, founded Yabloko in 1993 as Russia struggled with a post-Soviet economic crisis that left many impoverished and looking for social protection.

The 59-year-old economist always promoted more socially oriented policies and twice ran for president, failing to break the 10-per cent barrier in both 1996 and 2000.

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Unable to agree on the order of a protest march through Moscow on Saturday, the organizers, gathered round a few tables shoved together in a crowded Moscow cultural centre, borrowed the hat from a woman bystander and drew lots from it.

A row was averted. Non-affiliated protesters will lead the march, increasing pressure on Putin to allow free elections and open up the political system, and they will be followed by liberals, right-wing groups and nationalists.

Saturday's march will test the opposition's ability to keep up the momentum despite freezing weather, Putin's refusal to meet their main demands and the prime minister's all-but certain victory in a presidential election on March 4.

"We know that Putin will win on March 4. But we want to ensure he is naked and wet when he enters the Kremlin, with all respect for him gone," said Sergei Parkhomenko, a journalist who is part of the organizing committee.

Protesters were also united by an announcement by Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev on September 24 that they plan to swap jobs after the presidential election, a move seen by many Russians as openly flouting democracy.

The protest movement has brought together such diverse figures as former chess champion and opposition politician Garry Kasparov, environmental campaigner Yevgenia Chirikova, anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who has expressed nationalist views, and left-wing leader Sergei Udaltsov.

None has emerged as the group's leader although Navalny, 35, is widely seen as having the potential to step into that role. At the first organizational meeting, his seat, marked by a place name, was empty at the start because he had been jailed for 15 days for his role in an earlier protest in December.

One of the organizers, liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, served in government under President Boris Yeltsin but others, such as novelist Boris Akunin, have no experience of politics and are not affiliated with any political party.

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