Russians believe that Putin has rigged recent elections. In response, they have taken to the streets and have vowed to continue if their demands are not met. Putin has started to round up and incarcerate political opponents in a predictable response.
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets across Russia. They are protesting against alleged electoral fraud perpetrated by Putin’s United Russia Party.
More than 50,000 people demonstrated in Moscow, 10,000 in St Petersburg, and there were many other smaller events across the country. The protestors were largely peaceful, however, in keeping with Putin’s paranoia control freakery; over one thousand people were arrested. They were many political opponents, arrested on trumped up or fabricated charges. This is despite the state run media claiming that there had been and handful of arrests, and none at all in Moscow.
Several high profile bloggers have been arrested and kept in custody, and internet access had been blocked around Moscow during the protests.
They are the largest political demonstrations in Russia since the 1991 coup. Protesters are calling for the election results to be annulled, and have vowed to return to the streets on December 24th if their demands are not met.
The full demands of protestors are as follows:
1. Freedom for political prisoners
2. Annulment of the election results
3. The resignation of Vladimir Churov, head of the election commission, and an official investigation of vote fraud
4. Registration of the opposition parties and new democratic legislation on parties and elections
5. New democratic and open elections
Despite the arrests, the police generally have been quite neutral towards demonstrators. This is in stark contrast the usual state crackdown of any unauthorised gatherings or protests. I suspect that things may be different on the 24th.Putin is not generally a tolerant man.