lördag 31 december 2011

Election Fraud Galvanizes Russian Opposition, Communist Party 20 Years After Soviet Union’s Collapse

Allegations of widespread fraud in the recent elections that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party a parliamentary majority have galvanized massive street protests in opposition to the Russian political establishment. This comes on the 20th anniversary of the breakup of the Soviet Union. "The reason that the people who control the financial oligarchy in Russia don’t want free elections is they know that if they had free elections to a parliament, the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property," which was privatized in the 1990s, says Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University. He notes, "though these elections were not free and fair, they were the freest and fairest in 15 years," and that members of the country’s middle class make up the bulk of the protesters. Cohen also argues the American media has failed to report on the resurgence of the Communist Party, supported mainly by working-class voters in Russia’s vast provinces, which could challenge Putin in the 2012 presidential race and force a runoff election.

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