News / Europe

Russia Detains Putin Critics; Clinton Denounces Electoral Fraud

A protester tries to become free as police officers detain opposition activists during a protest against vote rigging in St.Petersburg, Russia, December 5, 2011.
A protester tries to become free as police officers detain opposition activists during a protest against vote rigging in St.Petersburg, Russia, December 5, 2011.

Russian authorities continue to hold at least 250 opposition protesters one day after an unprecedented rally against alleged electoral fraud, as the top U.S. diplomat again criticized Moscow for parliamentary polls she said were neither free nor fair.

Protest organizers say most of the demonstrators arrested in the capital, Moscow, remain in custody. They include Ilya Yashin, a top member of the opposition, who a Moscow court Tuesday sentenced to 15 days in jail for disobeying police orders during Monday's demonstration.  

Up to 120 people were also detained Tuesday at a similar rally in the northern city of St. Petersburg.

Photo Gallery: Russian Protests


The French news agency, AFP, quoted a security official as saying Russia has deployed Interior Ministry troops in Moscow to ensure order during several planned rallies in the capital Tuesday.

For a second straight day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited "serious concerns" about Sunday's polls in which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's legislative majority was slashed in a vote marred by accusations of ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities.

Speaking to the election-monitoring Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Clinton said Russian voters deserve a "full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has insisted the elections were "fair, honest and democratic."

Russian police late Monday moved against several thousand demonstrators gathered under pouring rain to denounce the election, chanting "Russia without Putin." The arrests took place as protesters sought to march toward the Kremlin.  It was one of the biggest rallies in the Russian capital in years.

Earlier, OSCE election monitors reported numerous violations of election rules favoring Putin's United Russia party. The group says frequent procedural violations included problems with the vote-counting, ballot-box stuffing and a lack of transparency.

United Russia, which has dominated Russian politics for more than a decade, took about 50 percent of the vote and now holds a slim majority in the State Duma, or the lower house.

The Communists, along with the nationalist Liberal Democrats and Just Russia, a social democratic party, all made strong gains, meaning that United Russia will be forced to work with the newly empowered opposition.

In the 2007 election, the ruling party won 64 percent of the vote, enough for a supermajority that enabled it to amend the constitution without opposition support.

Russian analysts in recent weeks had predicted a sharp decline in United Russia's popularity, with voters voicing discontent about the growing income gap between rich and poor and allegations of official corruption. There has also been displeasure over plans by Putin to reclaim the presidency in March after being forced to assume the post of prime minister in 2008 due to term limits.

If he regains the presidency, Putin, 59, could serve two more six-year terms and remain in power until 2024. He was first elected president in 2000.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs