Nationwide protests under way in Russia

10 December 2011

Moscow rally against “poll fraud” by ruling party attracts tens of thousands, with protests in many other cities.Last Modified: 10

Protests in Russia are taking place against Vladimir Putin’s 12-year rule amid signs of swelling anger over a poll won by his ruling United Russia party with the alleged help of widescale fraud.

More than 20,000 people have already gathered on a square across the river from the Kremlin on Saturday, after receiving permission from the Kremlin for the event.

Authorities had detained about 1,600 activists over the past few days who had joined unsanctioned rallies against the December 4 vote.

The opposition is also organising rallies in at least 14 other major cities in a rare outpouring of mistrust in a system put in place by Putin when he first became president in 2000.

Protests have already begun elsewhere, with several hundred marching in Vladivostok, seven timezones to the east of Moscow.

A 30,000-strong demonstration would be the largest to hit the Russian capital in 20 years, in what some see as the first warning bell for the former foreign agent and his secretive inner circle of security chiefs.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker, reporting from Moscow, said: “Troops from the interior ministry and water cannons are also on standby in Moscow.

“I do think, that if the protestors try and widen the rally, then there could well be a clampdown.”

The authorities’ decision to permit Saturday’s rallies to go ahead nationwide is a first for the Putin era and suggests the Kremlin would prefer to avoid street battles between protesters and the riot police.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ivan Safranchuk, a Russian political analyst, said: “People will be allowed to protest, but direct political change won’t happen.”


Putin’s United Russia has been bruised by allegations of corruption, after opposition parties and international observers said the vote was marred by vote-rigging, including alleged ballot-box stuffing and false voter rolls.

Russians preparing for Saturday’s protests in Moscow

The official results of the elections to Russia’s Duma showed that the ruling party United Russia lost 77 of its 315 seats, just retaining a small majority.

Barker said there is a widespread view, fuelled by mobile phone videos and accounts on internet social networking sites, that there was wholesale election fraud, and that Putin’s party cheated its way to victory.

Putin accepted the vote’s outcome but stayed silent about the protests for three days before accusing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of inciting the unrest by questioning the polls.

He said Clinton’s criticism “had set the tone for some people inside the country and given a signal”.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner retorted that “nothing could be further from the truth”.

Putin has remained Russia’s most popular and powerful politician as both president until 2008 and prime minister today – an image he has cultivated with tough talking against foreign powers and warm words for the Soviet past.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 10 December 2011 - 10:39 pm

    It looks as if Russia needs its own version of Bersih 2.0 to put things right!

  2. #2 by k1980 on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 2:35 am

    Russia has only become a democracy since 1991, whereas Malaysia claims to be one since 1957. Difference of 34 years

  3. #3 by monsterball on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 2:52 am

    Same will happen in Malaysia…if Najib tries to be too smart.

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 7:32 am

    The fraud by Putin & Co is minor league compared to what UMNO/BN has already done. Putin & Co has also delivered development far in excess in a shorter period than what UMNO/BN has delivered.over a period a few times longer.

    So what is the difference. Why do we put up with it but Russian’s won’t. Simple answer – awareness and confidence. Because of their communist past that educated a vast segment of their society, Russians are basically educated and always had a very educated elite. Because also of their past of over-throwing Tsars, winning wars, their failed communist experiments, AND then over-throwing the communists, the Russians have less fear of taking a step back in order to move forward.

    For the Malays, they have never overthrew their own kind, they have never had history of beating back their own evil and not even their enemies. BUT they have always been open to outside influence, to learning from the outside and not being afraid to embrace others and make it part of themselves. However taking that leap to overcome themselves, it will be historic and a sign or their progress if the Malays achieve the same thing and be on equal footing with the Russians and their Arab brothers.

  5. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 7:51 am

    Hishamuudin is unaware that police permits are needed for carolling!!!!!

    Hello, Din, resign………………………..!!!!

    Even in Zimbabwe or Burma or Timbuktu…..
    !)No police permit is required for carolling!
    !!) NO need to submit list of names of carollers and their i/c numbers!!!
    !!!) NO need to provide police with bus routes for carolling party!!!
    !!!!) NO need to provide names of inviting hosts to homes and places of worships or shopping malls!!!!

    Hello, UMNO, tak cukup-lah. You should now ask PDRM to set an F&B section and ask for police permit in thse following areas:
    !) Make sure that all food served is halal and Jkaim-certified!
    !!)Make sure that all serving utensils are bought from Jakim-certiifed suppliers!!
    !!!) Make sure that no muslims attend any carolling parties. Jais will man all entry and exit routes to check all carollers and merrymakers are non-muslims!

    Aiya, not enuf, just ask for police permits to make sure:
    !) All carollers are above 21 years old!
    !!) Those under 21 years old should be chaperoned by at least one of their parents wjho must not be a muslim!
    !!!)Only certified musical instruments are allowed: no drums, no clarinets, no cellos —only ukuleles allowed!!!

    Et alii…….ad infinitum……

    You see Hishammuddin, despite all your Britisah education, you cannot take away the kampung mentality from you or PDRM!

    You see how ridiculous it gets. Remember how in first year law school, yr law professor proabably taught you that NO ONE CAN legislate that Frenchmen must wear french caps on Frenc h streets in jusrisdictions other than France.

    Maybe, yr Prof taught you….maybe, he didn’t! Just like Mugabe went to Univeristy of London law school but he probably never learnt constitutional law.

    Just pure shame!!! Never too late to start, just ask Aziz Bari of UIA fame to teach you the 101 of law.

    How can anyone suffer (stomach) such stupidity in our legislators and UMNO politicians, I wonder?

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 8:08 am

    The Nazis knew the addresses of all the Jews and they all ended up in gas chambers!

    This year, Christians should just sacrificwe their carolling to make a point to Putrajaya!

    Carolling is not like the Lord’s Supper.
    Cancelling it for one year will not destroy the Christian faith but it should make Home Minister, Home Ministry, PDRM see how utterly ludicrous they can get.

    Greater stupidity you can’t find in the Guiness Book of world Records.

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 8:19 am

    BTW, Hishammuddiin, 2011 Quote of the Year is on MACC, c/o yr ministry:

    ” It’s a bird, it’s a plane…, it’s flying bodies from MACC’s windows.”

    Somebody came up with some fantastic email comparing Microsoft WIndows with MACC’s windows. I have lost mine. Those of you who have it, can you please make it viral just one more time.

    I know Microsoft Windows run on an Operating System (OS). I guess MACC has no OS and maybe, just maybe, flying bodies is part of their standard opearting procedure (SOP).

  8. #8 by yhsiew on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 9:28 am

    The Russian episode merely rams home the message that there is a limit to people’s tolerance to fraudulent polls.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 10:10 am

    Everywhere people talk of democracy. Even North Korea/Myanmar government claim they are democratic. Democratic institutions vary from country to country, the degree it is practiced depending on people’s culture and vigilance of their freedoms, the institutions in place and the political elites’ attitude. It is human nature that political elites anywhere are inclined to stay in power and abuse position (which besides political corruption includes electoral fraud & cheating) and the extent they are checked depends on integrity of and check-and-balance within the institutional structures, and of course the people’s level of education, cultural background and their being vigilant of their own rights. The Internet, cell phones and related technologies (ICT) are now affecting profoundly citizens, civil and non-governmental organizations & politicians. ICT enables citizens to fight for “democracy” by street protests. This has posed 2 unique challenges: firstly, the traditional ballot box and its outcome to reflect democratic will in orderly way is being challenged as “rigged” and increasingly replaced by street protests/assemblies aided by ICT; secondly, anti democratic and fascist forces ie those who want the status quo, pro corrupt govt will also take to the streets to ostensibly exercise their ‘democratic’ right to protest against those who protest against governments. Public order/law & order to prevent street clashes is difficult to maintain. To try maintain it will be construed as authorities curbing democratic expression, whether wholesale or selective.

  10. #10 by yhsiew on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 10:28 am

    Glasnost (openness)! perestroika (reform)!

  11. #11 by k1980 on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 11:30 am

    Money? Oh you kiddies want money. I have no money, only a RM45 million diamond ring. But he big-sized metallik mak cik behind me has lots of money in cash–RM250,000,000!

  12. #12 by monsterball on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 11:33 am

    Crooks from UMNO b trying to be too smart …will be proven to be sooooooo stupid….day in day out.
    Keep fooling the race and using religion…..this kind of out dated politics are all the have to side track the real issues…corruptions…unjust laws and orders…divide to rule…year in year out for decades.
    Malaysians are sick of this low class politics from Najib…keep treating Malaysians like fools.
    The most imperfect man and PM…keep teaching Malaysians how to be noble and honest.
    Trully… father… son.

  13. #13 by monsterball on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 11:37 am

    The most imperfect man and leader teaching Malaysians how to be noble and honest.

  14. #14 by sotong on Sunday, 11 December 2011 - 2:03 pm

    Social media enable the ordinary people to bring down dictator and authoritarian regime.

  15. #15 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 12 December 2011 - 5:18 am

    Minister and Dy Minister Home Affairs say no permit needed for carollers.

    IGP & PDRM say permits needed to control traffic and public safety!!!!!!!!!

    Hello Ismail Omar, sejak 1957 (tahun Kemerdekaaan-lah), tak pernah sesiapa nampak trafik jam atau terrosrisme waktu krismas-lah!

    Apa ini public safety dan apo itu trafik jam? Nak buat polisi pun, nak bijak sedikit, sikit saja pun cukup tak akan mengelirukan dan menyusahkan.

    Tumpukan tenaga polis kepada ancaman dan jenayah yang sebetulnya dan bukan keatas carollers!!!!

    Adoi hai, Sang Polisi…….!!!!!

  16. #16 by k1980 on Monday, 12 December 2011 - 7:12 am

    The police are scared that Santa Claus might be wearing a big suicide-bomb vest underneath his outfit

  17. #17 by undertaker888 on Monday, 12 December 2011 - 8:03 am

    PDRM=polis Dibeli ringgit Malaysia. Probably this dummy will now say we need permit to drive during morning and afternoon rush hour. You know, it causes traffic jam.

    Why is this country is filled with such dummies? All appointed by putrid jaya dummies.

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