More Protests in Russia Over Alleged Election Fraud

Posted December 18th, 2011 at 6:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Thousands marched again Sunday in Moscow and St. Petersburg against alleged fraud in this month's Russian parliamentary elections.

The Communist party organized the Moscow protests while several different parties were behind the St. Petersburg march. But Sunday's protests were much smaller than those held across Russia last week.

Both the opposition and outside observers say there were widespread irregularities and outright fraud in the December 4 election, won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party.

Despite unprecedented public outrage against United Russia, Prime Minister Putin is widely expected to win the March 4 presidential election and swap jobs with current president Dimitry Medvedev.

Mr. Putin was elected president in 2000 and 2004, but Russia's constitution made him ineligible to seek a third consecutive term in 2008.

Last month, Mr. Putin formally accepted his party's nomination to run again for the presidency. The job swap deal has angered many in Russia, who say it would strengthen authoritarian rule and clear the way for Mr. Putin to become Russia's longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.