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More on the Russian "election"

The background noise of protest in Moscow and St. Petersburg has continued, despite the severe clampdown. Over 1000 people have been arrested, which implies that the size of the protests is much larger than the few thousand that has been admitted by the regime. Significant figures amongst the opposition, such as the blogger Andrei Navalny, remain under arrest.

The problem for the regime is that evidence is growing that the declared results are so far out of line with the real tallies as to be utterly at variance. This is not just a matter of the vote stuffing in Chechnya helping United Russia over the line- it seems that even the results in the major cities, which were thought to be more accurate because they showed such a large fall in the United Russia vote- are false too. In some areas it is clear that United Russia was well behind Yabloko, the Liberal party that the official tally says polled so few votes that they did not qualify for the Duma.

While the state run television continues to ignore the protest on the utterly spurious grounds that "a protest of 10,000 is nothing in a population of 142 million", the chat rooms in Russia are extremely excitable. There is a groundswell of protest online and in the press, which is not under such strict control.

Obviously the Kleptocrats have all the guns and it is difficult to see how the protesters can force an early change, but it is now very clear that the Putin regime has lost its legitimacy, and that the "Prime Minister" will face increasing difficulties over the coming weeks.


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