"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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Russians reject double roles by Putin-Medvedev twins?



For the first time in years, perhaps since the October revolution of 1917, Russians have come out  on the streets protesting against the "double"  regime of Putin-Medvedev duo, knowing fully well that the Kremlin cannot tolerate any "indiscipline" on  the part of the leaders and people, and  essentially merciless Moscow, trying to  emerge as  super power to match- if not to oppose the unilateral dictator USA-  would  put down any protest with an iron hand.

The post-October struggle during  Gorbachev and Yeltsin era were inspired by the state in order to  make Russia strongest among the 15 former Soviet republics. However, full control of the state over the nation, policies and people has been absolutely  tolerated  in Russia as a matter of  protecting the "national interest". Corruption and crime are dominant features of all former Soviet states.

Today,  the self-appointed guardians of Russia, Medvedev and Putin are facing a deep crisis, with the nation wide demonstrations and recent elections exposing the fragility of a regime long touted as stable and backed by a docile populace. The ruling United Russia, promoting Putin as Russia’s only hope, has won the "disputable" parliamentary election with just under 50% of the vote, a sharp drop in its support. Even with vote rigging, support for the ruling United Russia party fell dramatically in the December 4 elections.  Its candidates won only 238 out of 450 parliamentary seats, compared to 315 in 2007.


Protests mounted in the immediate aftermath of the election, sparked by widespread reports of electoral fraud.  Several thousand people have taken to the streets of Moscow  to demand an end to Putin's leadership after his United Russia party lost ground in the election, shouting "down with Putin" as international observers in Russia's parliamentary elections speak of flagrant violations.


Presenting an  all-Russia character, thousands of people joined protests on 11 December in cities across Russia in the largest anti-government demonstrations in recent decades. Apart from Moscow and St. Petersburg – the most important cities, protests were also held in Sochi, Murmansk, Chita, Vladivostok, Kazan, Nizhni Novgorod, Omsk and dozens of other cities across all seven time zones.


About 60 percent of Russia's 110 million registered voters cast ballots, down from 64 percent four years ago. United Russia held a two-thirds majority in the outgoing State Duma, which allowed it to change the constitution unchallenged. Only seven parties were allowed to field candidates for parliament this year, while the most vocal opposition groups were barred.


Earlier, exit polls cited by Russian state television showed Putin's party with less than 50 percent of the vote in elections, a significant drop reflecting Russians' growing weariness with his rule. It was predicted that Putin’s party would get 238 of the Duma's 450 seats, a sharp drop compared to the previous vote that landed the party a two-thirds majority in the State Duma, allowing it to change the constitution.

The first official results with 15 percent of the vote counted also showed only about 46 percent for United Russia, compared to 64 percent in 2007. The exit poll conducted by the VTsiOM polling agency had United Russia tallying 48.5 percent, and another done by the FOM polling agency had it winning 46 percent of the vote. With about 96 percent of precincts counted, United Russia was leading with 49.5 percent of the vote.

Opposition parties and election monitors said even this minus 50% figure for United Russia was inflated, alleging ballot-stuffing and other significant violations at the polls. Only seven parties were allowed to field candidates for parliament this year, while the most vocal opposition groups have been denied registration and barred from campaigning. Several parties complained of extensive election violations aimed at boosting United Russia's vote count, including party observers being hindered in their work.  Corruption has been the chief accusation leveled against United Russia by Navalny, one of the country's most influential bloggers arrested by Putin. "This is a label applied not to a specific political party but to authorities in general," Putin said, promising to tackle the issue.


Several parties complained of extensive election violations aimed at boosting United Russia's results.The Communist Party appeared to benefit most from the protest vote, with exit polls and the early returns predicting it would get nearly 20 percent, up from less than 12 percent four years ago. The socialist Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party led by mercurial nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky are also expected to increase their representation in the Duma. Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov said his party monitors thwarted an attempt to stuff a ballot box at a Moscow polling station where they found 300 ballots already in the box before the start of the vote.

The Russian authorities created an imitation of a very important institution whose name is free election, that is not free and is not elections. Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister during Putin's first presidential term, said he and other opposition activists who voted are under no illusion that their votes will be counted fairly. In Vladivostok, voters complained to police that United Russia was offering free food in exchange for promises to vote for the party.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) consider even this minus 50% votes is bogus and say the election was slanted in favor of Putin's party, United Russia. An interim report from an elections-monitoring mission of OSCE noted that "most parties have expressed a lack of trust in the fairness of the electoral process."


Social media were flooded with messages reporting violations. Many people reported seeing buses deliver groups of people to polling stations, with some of the buses carrying young men who looked like football fans. Incidents of ballot-stuffing were reported at several other stations in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and other areas. In the southern city of Krasnodar, unidentified people posing as Communist monitors had shown up at polling stations and the real observers from the party weren't allowed in, Zyuganov said.


A page on the Russian social networking site vKontakte calls for "making it hot for the thieving authorities". Russia's only independent election monitoring group, Golos, which is funded by US and European grants, has come under heavy official pressure after Putin accused Western governments of trying to influence the election and likened recipients of Western aid to Judas. The group had compiled some 5,300 complaints of election-law violations ahead of the vote, most of which were linked to United Russia. Roughly a third of the complainants — mostly government employees and students — said their employers and professors were pressuring them to vote for the party.



A close ally, China says it believes that this Russian Duma election reflected the wishes of the Russian people. Accused in the West of trampling on democratic freedoms and denounced at home by protesters over the conduct of a parliamentary election, Putin won not only China's support , but also a peace prize. The organizers of the Confucius Peace Prize, set up in a riposte to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said they had chosen Putin because of his opposition to the NATO attacks on Libya-  most  farcical statement because Putin supported NATO terrorism in Libya first by abstaining  form voting  on the issue in the notorious UNSC and then never refusing to question the  legitimacy for massacres in Libya. Russia is interested only in WTO  entry while the USA has been obstructing to its  admission and made the Libya invasion a perfect tool to achieve that. .


Western observers criticized the election and USA Clinton suggested it was neither free nor fair. Putin accused the USA of stirring up the protests. But China's Foreign Ministry stood by Putin, saying the results were "universally affirmed". Putting a positive spin on the disappointing returns, Putin said that "we can ensure the stable development of the country with this result." But he appeared glum when speaking to supporters at United Russia headquarters and limited his remarks to a terse statement.

Critics say the former KGB agent has rolled back democracy and stifled post-Soviet freedoms. A few dozen activists of the Left Front opposition group tried to stage an unsanctioned protest just outside Red Square, but were quickly dispersed by police, who detained about a dozen of them. Thousands of police and interior troops are on alert in Moscow, after one of the biggest opposition rallies in the city centre for years. Police made 300 arrests as protesters chanted "Russia without Putin". Among those held was Alexei Navalny, a top anti-corruption campaigner and fierce critic of Putin. Later in the evening, police said they arrested more than 100 other opposition demonstrators in the capital and about 70 in St. Petersburg when they attempted to hold an unauthorized rally.


Putin has warned that a parliament with a wide array of parties would lead to political instability. A counter-demonstration by Putin supporters was held beside Red Square on December 06 amid reports that opposition supporters were planning a new protest. Having exposed of its  fake  fight against corruption, the Kremlin reportedly instructed the police not to crack down on the demonstrators lest they provoke an even broader outpouring of popular anger.



An Observation

At the outset, the result reflects the strongman Vladimir Putin’s declining popularity ahead of his bid for the Russian presidency in March. Putin, waiting to enter Presidency next year, has played down his party's losses at parliamentary election as inevitable for a party in power.

President Dmitry Medvedev has insisted the election had been fair and democratic. It should  be noted here that earlier, seeing the declining fortunes of his party, Putin named his handpicked successor as president, Medvedev, to lead United Russia's list.

Medvedev is a discovery of Putin as Putin himself was a  invention of Boris Yeltsin. Russians seem to be unimpressed by the Putin-Medvedev dual power arrangement, rather they dislike this.  President-Premier power swap between Putin and Medvedev has not gone well with the voters. Putin wanted to see United Russia do well in the election as a sign of support for his return to the presidency in a vote now three months away. He previously served as president from 2000 to 2008. Medvedev is eager to get into Putin's premier shoes as per the "exchange program". 

People are just the convenient tool at disposal of the state controllers and Russian leaders have so far enjoyed their undisputed  status. Putin, successfully entered  the Presidency in 2000 by consuming the corpses of Chechens, drinking their blood, is being  groomed by the United Russia party. The vote will further weaken positions of Medvedev, whom Putin promised to name prime minister after the presidential vote, a move that has fueled public irritation.


Although Putin and his United Russia party have dominated Russian politics for more than a decade, popular discontent appears to be growing with Putin's strongman style, pervasive official corruption and the gap between ordinary Russians and the country's florid United Russia has been seen increasingly as the party of corrupt officials, and its description as a "party of crooks and thieves" has stuck, flashing up as the first suggestion on Russia's top web search engine.


Putin's party saw its majority in Russia's parliament weaken sharply a humiliating setback for the man who has steadily tightened his grip on the nation for nearly 12 years. It reflected a strong public frustration with the lack of political competition, ubiquitous official corruption and the gap between rich and poor, which will pose a growing challenge to Putin's power. Despite that, Putin should still have no problem getting his laws rubber-stamped. Even the Communists have posed only token opposition in the outgoing Duma, and the two other parties have consistently voted with United Russia.  Opposition leaders demand Russia to hold an honest presidential election and allow opposition candidates to register for the race, if he doesn't want to be booed from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad. Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said after the vote that Putin's "honeymoon" with the nation was over.


The resolutions passed at Bolotnaia Square in Moscow included the demand for the nullification of the parliamentary election results, the holding of new elections, the resignation of Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov, the official registration of opposition parties and the immediate release of all political prisoners.  A new rally in central Moscow has been called for December 24, against United Russia, with organizers insisting that the government has two weeks to meet its demands.


It looks  as if Russia is heading toward another “October”. But  Putin-Medvedev duo  has  taken steps  to prevent youth from attending the anti-regime protests. Medvedev announced a probe into the allegations of electoral fraud  which is intended to try to assuage popular anger in an effort to prevent the demonstrations from expanding. Skyrocketing prices for food and basic utilities have hit the people hard over the past two years, with over 2 million more people officially entering the ranks of the poor from 2010 to 2011. Corruption or the intolerable living conditions facing the majority of the Russia’s population, however, has not been a serious issue so far.  Putin is worried about the  revolution in Egypt in January followed by many other Mideastern nations. 


It is wrong to take people's approval for granted.  Putin sought to stem a quick decline in United Russia's popularity by trying to expand its support base with a so-called Popular Front, an umbrella group for unions, professional associations, veteran groups and others. But the effort has brought no visible result, and Putin last month received a stinging blow to his own ego when he was met with catcalls after a mixed martial arts fight at a Moscow arena.


While people of India, fooled  for decades by the leaders, bureaucrats and media lords by feeding them on anti-Islamism, "fundamental terrorism", "Kashmiri extremism" and anti-Pakistanism, have just begun fighting the corruption and other crimes being committed officially and otherwise by the “elected” regime, controlled by corporate and media lords, their  mafias, the people of Russia seem to have woken up once again to face  the crude reality created by authoritarian leaders under the garb of deceptive slogans like stability and national interests, at long last!


Will people win?

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