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 VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid