Far Smaller Turnout to Antigovernmental Protests in Russia
Turnout faded on the second weekend of protests against Vladimir Putin party’s winning elections two weeks ago. Only 1,000 people gathered in central Moscow on Saturday to protest what they consider to be a rigging of the process.
Tens of thousands had gathered in Moscow last weekend and impressive turnout was reported in other 60 cities, but as time went by the protest became smaller, showing that the opposition in Russia does not have the strength to actually challenge the regime.
On December 4, the Russia United party scored a very good electoral score retaining a narrow majority in the Duma, the Lower House of the Russian parliament. However, the victory of Putin’s party tasted almost like defeat as the scores went down from 70 percent in 2007 to 49 percent now.
The opposition accused the party that rules the country that even that score was not the real one and that many irregularities have been reported including by the international observers.
Soon after the elections, as the protests began in Russia, Vladimir Putin accused at one point US State Secretary Hillary Clinton of interfering with the internal affairs of his country by pronouncing herself even before the reports of the international observers were made public.
As police became more and more tolerant of the protesters, Putin rejected the idea of rerunning elections, as the opposition had demanded.
On Saturday, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev spoke of the conversation he had had with the American president the day before. Medvedev said he had told Obama that Russia did not care about the American assessment of the vote’s correctness, and that it was strictly Russian business, and that no interference in the electoral process was allowed.11