MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, October 5th 2023 - 03:45 UTC



Putin blames US for nationwide protests against alleged election fraud

Friday, December 9th 2011 - 06:14 UTC
Full article
Former Soviet leader Gorbachev called for a rerun of elections Former Soviet leader Gorbachev called for a rerun of elections

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, facing the possibility of nationwide protests against his rule, on Thursday accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of instigating demonstrators in the wake of the disputed parliamentary election.

The comments came as opposition supporters largely stayed off the streets after three nights of sizeable protests. No protests were seen in Moscow and only a small one where 10 people were arrested was reported in St Petersburg.

But the wave of discontent - which has already undercut Putin's public persona of being both strong and beloved - may be far from cresting. More than 30,000 people have promised on a Facebook page to attend a Saturday protest in Moscow and similar rallies have been called for more than 70 other cities. Russia's Kremlin-controlled television networks have largely ignored the demonstrations.

Putin, in televised remarks, accused the US of encouraging and funding the Russians protesting the alleged election fraud in Sunday's elections. By recently describing Russia's election as rigged, Clinton “gave a signal” to his opponents, said Putin, who also warned of a wider Russian crackdown on dissent.

“They heard this signal and with the support of the US State Department began their active work,” Putin said. He said the United States is spending “hundreds of millions” of dollars to influence Russian politics with the aim of weakening a rival nuclear power.

Clinton has repeatedly criticized Sunday's parliamentary vote, saying “Russian voters deserve a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.”

Putin's United Russia party barely held onto its majority in parliament, with official results giving it about 50% of the vote, down from 64% four years ago. But the fraud allegations indicate that support for United Russia was even lower than that, and Russians appear to be growing weary of Putin and his party after nearly 12 years in office.

On Wednesday Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader called for new parliamentary elections in Russia over concerns about vote fraud.

“Mikhail Gorbachev is very concerned about how the situation in Russia is developing,” said spokesman Pavel Palezhchenko. “People don't believe that the will of the people is reflected in the results.”

He confirmed a report by the Russian news agency Interfax, which quoted the former Communist party general secretary as saying the elections were unfair and new elections were needed.


Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!