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What will come of the Russian election protests?

Categories: Politics, World


A woman wears a sticker that reads "No voice" at a St. Petersburg rally on Saturday. Thousands of Russians joined demonstrations in response to allegations of fraud in the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

Update, Dec. 11: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on his Facebook page Sunday that he has given instruction to look into allegations of electoral fraud during the Dec. 4 parliamentary vote. Medvedev's post generated over 2,200 mostly angry comments within one hour. "Shame!" and "We don't believe you!" were the most common.

Dec 10: Tens of thousands of demonstrators have flooded Moscow square to denounce the results of recent parliamentary elections, which named Vladimir Putin the prime minister of Russia.

Other demonstrations were held nationwide, with protesters taking to the streets in at least 50 Russian cities.

Opposition activists and independent monitors allege widespread fraud in last weekend's elections. Demonstrators want the government to nullify those results and hold fresh elections.

International observers say the mass protests are the start of something big.

U.S. Sen. John McCain recently warned Putin that an Arab Spring-type movement was on the horizon, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged an investigation into election fraud.

But others have questioned whether Russian activists can sustain a prolonged demonstration similar to those that ousted long-time leaders like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.

Russian police have showed relative restraint thus far, but are unlikely to tolerate long-term occupations of public areas and staged events. 

Do you think this is the beginning of a popular resistance movement? What would it take to shake Russia's strongman? How effective do you expect the protests to be?

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)


Tags: World

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