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Kenneth Rapoza, Contributor Covering Brazil, Russia, India & China.

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I N V E S TI N G | 12/10/2011 @ 11:23AM | 1,644 views

Russia Besieged By Protesters 2 comments, 2 called-out

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Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets from the far and cold eastern coastline all the way to Red Square, chanting “Russia without Putin!” The protests were promised on Friday by opposition political parties, mainly the Communist Party, and they delivered. News reports said “tens of thousands” were protesting what they saw as widespread government backed voting fraud in the Parliamentary elections on Sunday.

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In the elections, the ruling United Russia party lost 77 seats in the state Duma, taking them out of a full power position which enabled them to change the Russian constitution without needing votes from other parties. The Communist Party, the number two party in the Parliament, also known as the Duma, rose from around 50 seats to over 90, its biggest jump since the fall of communism in 1992.

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The Communist Party, along with the Liberal Democratic Party and A Just Russia Party all said that they would have won even more seats in the Duma if not for voting fraud perpetuated by United Russia. While the Russian economy is doing better that it ever has under United Russia, voters were peeved by the fact that Russian president Dmitry

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Russia Besieged By Protesters - Forbes

Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladmir Putin announced in September that they were essentially changing roles next year. Putin would run for president under United Russia, a party in which he heads, and Medvedev would likely become the prime minister. Putin has been in some position of power since the time Boris Yeltisin appointed him as prime minister in the late 1990s. Putin later became president of Russia in 2000 and was re-elected four years later. He is likely to be elected again on March 4, 2012. If it’s not the economy that has people up in arms, what is it?

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Kenneth Rapoza

“It’s corruption,” said Shan Nair, a business consulting working with clients in Russia. “There is a perception, a very real perception, that the Russian government and the United Russia Party that runs it, is not all that interested in corruption.” People are, however, and the latest round of vote fraud allegations has them in the streets all week. The demonstration is an unprecedented test of Putin’s tolerance for Democracy. It is a rare, large-scale display of popular unease with Russian politics post-Yeltsin.

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I covered Brazil pre-Lula and post-Lula and spent the last five years covering all aspects of the country for Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal and Barron's. Meanwhile, for an undetermined amount of time, and with a little help from my friends, I will be parachuting into Russia, India and China. (I figure if Anderson Cooper can parachute, I can parachute.) The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.


“United Russia undoubtedly put unofficial pressure on the state governors and mayors to go and get out the vote,” said Jonathan Harris, a professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. “We saw similar pressures in 2007 where there were massive allegations of voter fraud from internal monitors. Western observers weren’t even allowed in the country. You had Chechnya for example register 99% of their votes back then for United Russia. Unheard of. I think proving fraud is going to be hard.” In Moscow, thousands of protesters waving banners and chanting slogans like “Swindlers and Thieves!” and “Churov Resign!” – references to United Russia and election commission chief Vladimir Churov – converged on a square in the east side of the city where they had permission to rally. Police estimated the size of the Moscow rally at around 25,000 people. Organizers said it was closer to 40,000. At one moment, the crowd turned in the direction of the Kremlin and shouted “Putin out!”

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Both Medvedev and the Ministry of the Interior have called for a full investigation of video tapes that recorded fraud, like ballot stuffing. Police were given until next Thursday to file their full report on their findings.


3 days ago

Im not so sure about that. 40% is impressive. He will be the [...] on Romney Has Momentum, But Excitement Another Matter

“When you get a shift like this in popular opinion it is hard to know how all of it will reverberate throughout the system,” said Harris. “This could help social democratic parties like Just Russia, but for now, they are all so small in comparison to United Russia that any change is years away.”

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See: Thousands Rally Against Putin, Vote Fraud –Associated Press

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Romney Has Momentum, But Excitement Another Matter 2 comments, 2 called-out

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normaward 1 month ago

Here is an example of misleading information regarding Russia’s recent election and demonstrations courtesy of a major television network:

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Kenneth Rapoza, Contributor 1 month ago


Gotta love Fox News. Its what happens when you pay your producers crap.

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Russia Besieged By Protesters - Forbes

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Russia Besieged By Protesters  

Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets from the far and cold eastern coastline all the way to Red Square, chanting “Russia withou...