Saturday, 24 December 2011

Anti-Putin Protests Continue in Moscow - Largest Yet

Two weeks ago the protests against Vladimir Putin and election fraud had been the largest ever.  These were surpassed today.  According to Russian radio Mikhael Gorbachev has called for Putin to resign.  There is a growing outrage against Putin's twelve year rule.

Four years ago Putin could not run for re-election, since the constitution prevented it and Dimitry Medvedev was elected into that post.  The United Russia Party dominated the Duma and Putin became Prime Minister.  Many believed that he was still calling the shots. 

The recent elections resulted in the United Russia Party just gaining 49% of the vote, although it still dominates the Duma.  The OECD claimed that the election was riddled with fraud, including ballot stuffing.  Many in Russia believe that the United Russia party only received about 27% of the vote.

It seems the chickens have come home to roost.  Russians are not impressed with Medvedev's promise on facebook that he had called an investigation.  Putin had close to a two hour rant on Russian television and it appears that Russians have had enough.

Rally participants densely packed a broad avenue, which has room for nearly 100,000 people, about 1.5 miles from the Kremlin, on a snowy day. They chanted "Russia without Putin!"
A stage at the end of the half-mile avenue featured placards reading "Russia will be free" and "This election Is a farce." Heavy police cordons encircled the participants, who stood within metal barriers, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.
The recent protests in Moscow and other cities have dented Putin's authority as he seeks to reclaim the presidency in a March vote. The Kremlin has responded by promising a set of political reforms that would allow more political competition in future elections.
But protest leaders say they will continue pushing for a rerun of the Dec. 4 parliamentary election and punishment for officials accused of vote fraud. They say maintaining momentum is key to forcing Putin's government to accept their demands.  Washington Post

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