[QODLink]
Europe
Medvedev orders probe into election fraud
President breaks silence as activists plan another large anti-government protest for December 24.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2011 12:03
At least 50,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday, claiming Russia's parliamentary elections were stolen [EPA]

Buffeted by possibly growing winds of dissent, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has issued instructions for the government to investigate allegations of electoral fraud during the December 4 parliamentary vote.

Tens of thousands rallied in Moscow and other cities on Saturday in the largest anti-government protest in Russia's post-Soviet history, decrying the reported fraud and demanding the departure of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister.

Opposition activists are planning another protest for December 24 and have applied for a permit rally roughly 50,000 people in the capital. Meanwhile, pro-government youth movements have planned to stage a counter-protest soon outside the Kremlin, drawing perhaps 20,000 people.

Breaking two days of silence, Medvedev posted a comment on Facebook on Sunday saying that he disagrees with the rally's demands and slogans but that he has instructed the government to check all reports of alleged vote rigging.

His word choice - that he "disagreed" with the protesters - may have been a sly prod at the activists themselves, who for years have staged small rallies, each called a "march of people who disagree".

"People have the right to express their opinion, which is what they did yesterday," Medvedev wrote. "It is a good thing that everything happened within the law."

The poll delivered Medvedev and Putin's party, United Russia, an electoral setback, with only 49.5 per cent of the vote. Turnout also slid from 64 per cent in 2010 to an estimated 60 per cent of Russia's 110 million registered voters this time.

The governeror of the Vologda province, where United Russia had one of its worst performances, quit as a result.

Medvedev has previously defended the poll and only issued instructions to investigate specific voting violations reported in the Russian media and by foreign election observers.

Neither Medvedev nor Putin has made any public appearances on the weekend.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
join our mailing list