Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Won Fair And Square,,,Kinda

The Election Was A Fraud; Why Not Putin Himself?

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has reclaimed the Kremlin after a crushing presidential election victory that he declared was honest but the opposition said was marred by a plethora of violations.
Gennady Zyuganov

Putin scored a first round knockout with almost 65% of the vote according to initial results from the majority of polling stations, with his main rival the Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov a distant second.
In a late-night appearance in front of more than 100,000 supporters just outside the Kremlin after polls closed on Sunday, an apparently tearful Putin declared that he had triumphed in a clean fight and said Russian voters had sabotaged attempts to break up the country.
Dmitry Medvedev

"I have won in an open and honest battle," Putin said with tears in his eyes and his voice hoarse with emotion, standing on a stage alongside outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev on Manezh Square.
"I promised you I would win, and, I won. Glory to Russia!" Putin said, adding that voters had defeated provocations that aimed "to break up the Russian state and to usurp power."

His supporters filled the square, spilling over into surrounding streets, waving Russian flags and chanting "Putin, Putin!". He later visited his election headquarters and shook hands with, hugged and kissed his supporters.

The Russian strongman denied that he had been crying during his speech, saying he had only shed "tears from the wind" on a bitterly cold and blustery night.

Putin still faces an emboldened protest movement against his rule which was not represented by any single candidate in the elections but has succeeded in holding three massive rallies over the last three months.

With police helicopters hovering low over central Moscow and security forces blanketing the streets, at least 20,000 protesters gathered Monday to accuse Vladimir Putin of stealing Russia's presidential election and demand his immediate resignation.
Mikhail Prokhorov

Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov had 17% and billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the New Jersey Nets NBA team, had 7%, it said.

However, both international and Russian observers said they had detected numerous serious irregularities. And the opposition movement that sprouted in response to reports of widespread cheating in parliamentary elections in December said it would step up its protest campaign.

Protesters In Moscow's Pushkin Square

According to results based on counts from 89 per cent of Russia's polling stations, Putin won 64.65 per cent of the vote with Zyuganov trailing on 17.06 per cent. The central election commission said turnout was around 64 per cent.

Tycoon turned politician Mikhail Prokhorov was third with 7.11 per cent. Populist Vladimir Zhirinovsky had 6.30 per cent while the former upper house speaker Sergei Mironov languished in last on 3.75 per cent.

An exit poll survey by the state-run VTsIOM polling institute had projected that Putin would win with 58.3 per cent of the vote, ahead of Zyuganov on 17.7 per cent and Prokhorov third with 9.2 per cent.

But opposition parties said there were clear signs of foul play in the election, including multiple voting, despite the installation on Putin's orders of webcams to ensure transparency.

Tonino Picula, head of an observer team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, presented a report Monday citing a lack of "real competition, and abuse of government resources" in the election. It listed instances in which it said voters cast multiple ballots, as well as multiple problems with the vote count.

At a news conference, independent Russian observers spoke of instances in which voters were brought from one polling station to another in buses or new names were added to lists of eligible voters on election day. In other cases, they said, people voted at their workplace with their bosses telling them which square to mark, and a large group of people who were all registered as living in a vacant building voted at a polling station near Moscow.
The scope of falsifications this time was simply monstrous," said Mikhail Shneider, a regional coordinator of the Citizen Observer public movement. "Putin didn't win fairly in the first round and there should be the second round."
Voting Fraud was seen In December
Two observers who worked for Prokhorov's campaign said they were beaten up in the town of Zheleznodorozhny, about 15 miles east of Moscow.

"These elections cannot be considered legitimate in any way," Vladimir Ryzhkov, one of the leaders of the protest movement, told state television after the results were announced.

Communist candidate Zyuganov also blasted the elections as "crooked and absolutely unfair".

An AFP correspondent saw a fleet of 100 buses in the capital carrying workers from outlying regions to vote in Moscow, an action organized by the Nashi pro-Kremlin youth group but which the opposition said was aimed at multiple voting.

In a tense contest of rival protests, the mass pro-Putin rally was followed on Monday evening by an opposition demonstration for "Russia without Putin" expected to draw at least 30,000 people.
Russian police officers detain opposition activist during protest

That rally has been sanctioned by the authorities but police - who have brought in 6,300 extra officers from across Russia - have warned they will break up any unauthorized gatherings.

Three policemen were killed in an attack on a polling station in Russia's troubled Caucasus region of Dagestan after the presidential polls, police said, underlining the continued challenge from unrest in the south of the country.

"Putin stole at least 15% of the vote and cheated Russian's out of the second [election] round," Sergei Udaltsov said in an interview. "We can't accept that, and we will be stepping up peaceful protests in the streets and squares of Moscow."

Another opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, said the protest movement built around urban middle-class people needed to do a better job of getting its message out to the rest of the country. Navalny and Udaltsov were among those arrested when police dispersed the remaining protesters. Navalny was soon released.

Prokhorov surprised protesters at Pushkin Square by taking the stage, promising to found a new party and continue the fight. Many had questioned whether Prokhorov was independent or running in league with the Kremlin.
"We will build a country that everyone will be proud of," he said. "You want changes, and I will do my best so that you may see those changes."

Reports earlier in the day said another opposition leader, Eduard Limonov, and about 50 supporters were arrested in front of the Federal Security Service headquarters in central Moscow. In St. Petersburg, police arrested about 300 protesters who tried to rally in St. Isaac's Square.

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