News / Europe

    Protests over Russian Elections Spread to More Cities

    Police arrive at Triumphal Square during protests against alleged vote rigging in Russia's parliamentary elections in Moscow, Russia, December 6, 2011.
    Police arrive at Triumphal Square during protests against alleged vote rigging in Russia's parliamentary elections in Moscow, Russia, December 6, 2011.
    James Brooke

    Russia’s ruling party won only half of the votes in elections on Sunday. But opponents say even that poor showing was boosted by widespread fraud. Now they are protesting.

    Protests against Sunday’s Duma elections are spreading across Russia.

    On Tuesday, the interior ministry flooded downtown Moscow with dozens of prison trucks and as many as 50,000 police and troops.

    Despite this show of force, protesters turned out and black helmeted riot police wrestled into detention a total of 300 people, largely off the sidewalks of Tverskaya, the capital’s most expensive shopping avenue.

    Police arrested 200 more in St. Petersburg and dozens more in other cities. Dozhd, a private internet TV channel reported that protests took place in 50 Russian cities.

    In Moscow, police protected pro-government demonstrators who banged drums and chanted “Rossiya, Rossiya.”

    Many protesters seemed to be high school students, brought in groups, and clearly unfamiliar with downtown Moscow’s streets and subways.

    Denis, a member of an opposition party Yabloko, took refuge in Mayakovskaya subway station.

    He said he thought the pro-government protesters were paid.

    With the opposition planning a major Moscow protest for Saturday, a judge imposed 15-day sentences on two organizers arrested for disobeying police on Monday. They are: Ilya Yashin, an activist, and Alexey Navalny, a blogger with millions of online readers.

    Taking another tack, Russia’s ruling duo sought to cool widespread anger over the vote by announcing small concessions on national TV

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to shake up government - if he is elected President in March.

    He promised to change governors and the cabinet. The cabinet has continued virtually unchanged during the four years of the Medvedev government, now widely seen as a caretaker time.

    For his part, President Medvedev ordered the government agency that conducted Sunday’s election to investigate reports of vote rigging. Russia’s president also reacted harshly to Western criticism of Sunday’s election.

    As for foreigners, he said, Russia’s political system “is none of their business.”

    But U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to neighboring Lithuania, stepped up her criticism Tuesday, saying Russia’s elections were “neither free nor fair.”

    A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman immediately responded.

    She called Ms. Clinton’s comments “unacceptable.”

    On Monday, after Ms. Clinton called for investigation into fraud charges, Konstantin Kosachev, a senior ruling party member, denounced the call as “one of the darkest pages in Russian-US relations.”

    On Tuesday, US Senator John McCain, a Republican, was less diplomatic.

    After hearing of Monday’s nights arrests near the Kremlin, Senator McCain tweeted this message to Prime Minister Putin: “Dear Vlad, the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you.”

    In Moscow, Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the Duma, reacted with outrage. He compared the American senator to the Mad Hatter in the book Alice in Wonderland.

    Russia’s political unrest may now be taking an economic toll.

    On Tuesday, a finance ministry official raised the official estimate of capital flight from Russia. Now, he said it will surpass $85 billion this year.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora