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Putin Wins

Posted by SMAZ on Sun Mar 4 16:58:01 2012

More good news.


Exit polls: Putin wins Russia's presidential vote

MOSCOW (AP) ó Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Sunday claimed victory in Russia's presidential election before tens of thousands of cheering supporters, even as the opposition and independent observers insisted the vote had been marred by widespread violations.
At a massive rally just outside the Kremlin, Putin thanked his supporters for helping foil plots aimed at destroying Russia, sounding a nationalistic theme that has resonated with his core supporters.
"I have promised that we would win and we have won!" he shouted to the flag-waving crowd, which responded with shouts of support. "We have won in an open and honest struggle."

Putin tallied 58-59 percent of Sunday's vote, according to exit polls cited by state television. Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov received about 18 percent, according to the survey, and the others ó nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, socialist Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov ó were in single digits.
Official vote results from the far eastern regions where the count was already completed seemed to confirm the poll data. With about 30 percent of all precincts counted, Putin was leading the field with 64 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said.

If thousands of claims of violations made by independent observers and Putin's foes are confirmed, they would undermine the legitimacy of his victory and fuel protests. The opposition is gearing up for a massive rally in downtown Moscow on Monday.
"These elections are not free ... that's why we'll have protests tomorrow. We will not recognize the president as legitimate," said Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin's first prime minister before going into opposition.
Golos, Russia's leading independent elections watchdog, said it received numerous reports of "carousel voting," in which busloads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times.
Alexei Navalny, one of the opposition's most charismatic leaders, said observers trained by his organization also reported seeing extensive use of the practice.
Evidence of widespread vote fraud in December's parliamentary election drew tens of thousands to protest against Putin, who was president in 2000-2008 before moving into the prime minister's office due to term limits. They were the largest outburst of public anger in post-Soviet Russia and demonstrated growing exasperation with massive corruption, rising social inequality and tight controls over political life under Putin.

Putin has dismissed the protesters' demands, casting them as a coddled minority of urban elites working at Western behest to weaken Russia. His claims that the United States was behind the opposition protests spoke to his base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees, who are suspicious of Western intentions after years of state propaganda.
"Putin is a brave and persistent man who can resist the U.S. and EU pressure," said Anastasia Lushnikova, a 20-year old student who voted for Putin in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.
Authorities gave permission to Putin's supporters to gather just outside the Kremlin walls, and tens of thousands flooded the big square immediately after the vote ended. Some participants of the demonstration, including employees of state organizations, said they were forced by the management to attend it under the threat of punishment.
The authorities denied the opposition's bid to hold the rally at the same place Monday, but allowed them to gather at a nearby square.

Putin has given generous social promises during his campaign and also initiated limited political reforms in a bid to assuage public anger. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday that Putin will seek to modernize the nation's political and economic system, but firmly ruled out any "Gorbachev-style liberal spasms."
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has become increasingly critical of Putin's rule. "These are not going to be honest elections, but we must not relent," he said Sunday after casting his ballot.

Putin has promised that the vote would be fair, and the authorities apparently have sought to take off the steam out of the protest movement by allowing more observers to monitor the vote. Tens of thousands of Russians, most of them politically active for the first time, had volunteered to be election observers, receiving training on how to recognize vote-rigging and record and report violations.
Golos said monitors have recorded fewer obvious violations than during the December election, but they still believe that violations are extensive. This time, election officials are using more complicated and subtle methods, said Golos deputy director Grigory Melkonyants.
According to data based on official figures from polling stations attended by Golos observers, Putin still garnered some 55 percent of the vote, while Zyuganov won about 19 percent.
Zyuganov told reporters after the polls closed that he will not recognize the vote, calling it "illegitimate, unfair and intransparent."
His campaign chief Ivan Melnikov claimed that the authorities set up numerous additional polling stations and alleged that hundreds of thousands of voters cast ballots at the ones in Moscow alone in an apparent attempt to rig the vote.

Prokhorov said on Channel One television after the vote that authorities kept his observers away from some polling stations and were beaten on two occasions.
Oksana Dmitriyeva, a Duma deputy from Just Russia party, tweeted that they were witnessing "numerous cases of observers being expelled from polling stations" across St. Petersburg just before the vote count.
Unlike Moscow and other big cities, where independent observers showed up en masse, election officials in Russia's North Caucasus and other regions were largely left to their one devices. The opposition said those regions have experienced particularly massive vote rigging in the past.

A Web camera at a polling station in Dagestan, a Caucasus province near Chechnya, registered unidentified people tossing ballot after ballot into boxes. The Central Election Commission quickly responded to the video, which was posted on the Internet, saying the results from the station will be invalidated.
Web cameras were installed in Russia's more than 90,000 polling stations, a move initiated by Putin in response to complaints of ballot stuffing and fraudulent counts in December's parliamentary elections.
It was unclear Sunday to what extent the cameras would be effective in recording voting irregularities or questionable counts. The election observation mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted skepticism in a report on election preparations.
"This is not an election ... it is an imitation," said Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader.
But despite the increased resentment against Putin's rule among the rising middle class, opinion polls ahead of the vote had shown Putin positioned to win easily. He presided over significant economic growth and gave Russians a sense of stability that contrasted with the disorder and anxiety of the 1990s, when Boris Yeltsin led Russia's emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union.

"Under Boris Nikolayevich, life was simply a nightmare, but, you know, now it's OK. Now it's good, I'm happy with the current situation," said 51-year-old Alexander Pshennikov, who cast his ballot for Putin at a Moscow polling station.
The police presence was heavy throughout the city on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of trouble, although police arrested three young women who stripped to the waist at the polling station where Putin cast his ballot; one of them had the word "thief" written on her bare back.
Jim Heintz, Lynn Berry, Maria Danilova, Nataliya Vasilyeva, Mansur Mirovalev and Sofia Javed in Moscow and Sergei Venyavsky in Rostov-on-Don contributed to this report.

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Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church

Posted by Olog-hai on Mon Mar 5 03:26:10 2012, in response to Putin Wins, posted by SMAZ on Sun Mar 4 16:58:01 2012.

Looks a little too much like the old Imperial Russia. Also helps when there are buses full of people driving from town to town to vote at multiple polling stations, early and often . . .

Lebanon Daily Star

Russian Church: pillar of holy support for Putin

February 17, 2012 11:16 AM
By Nicolas Miletitch
MOSCOW: The protests sweeping Russia have failed to shake the Russian Orthodox Church's support for former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, which regards him as the guarantor of the country's stability.

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has made no secret of who he would like to win the March 4 presidential polls, a vote of support that is hugely important given the Orthodox Church's growing influence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

"You have played an enormous personal role to set the course of history in our country. I would like to thank you," Kirill told Putin earlier this month at a meeting along with other religious leaders.

Russia managed to overcome the chaos of the 1990s that followed the break-up of the USSR "thanks to a divine miracle and with the active assistance of the leaders of our country," Kirill said.

At the same meeting on February 9, Putin also won effusive praise from Russia's Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin and Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar as he prepares to move back to the Kremlin after a four-year stint as prime minister.

Kirill has not entirely shrugged away the protests, saying in January the rallies should lead to an "adjustment of the political course" and it would be a "very bad sign" if the authorities ignored them.

But he expressed confidence that the authorities would be able to make the right decisions, warning the protestors they could be manipulated and risk destroying the country as during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

"The Orthodox faithful do not know how to demonstrate. They pray in monasteries, cells and at home. They are worried about what is happening and establish a parallel with the immorality of the pre-revolutionary years and the chaos and destructions of the 1990s."

Over 70 percent of the Russian population declares itself to be Orthodox Christian even if polls show only 5-7 percent regularly practice the faith.

"The Church may favor a dialogue between the opposition and the Russian authorities but it has not seized the chance to become a 'third force'," said Alexei Beglov, a historian specializing in the Orthodox Church.

When he first became Kremlin chief in 2000, Putin declared that "the Orthodox Church is the guardian of moral and spiritual values of Russia."

He has since never been shy of being photographed, candle in hand, attending major church services. Putin revealed this year at a Christmas service in his native Saint Petersburg that his mother had had him secretly christened.

In return, Putin has received solid support not only from Kirill but also his late predecessor Alexy II who died in 2008.

"The authorities need that symbolic legitimacy that the Orthodox Church can confer on them," said Alexander Verkhovsky of the Sova analytical center in Moscow.

The Orthodox Church obtained from the state the restitution of churches and monasteries confiscated during Soviet times, the presence of chaplains in military units and initiation courses into Orthodox culture at certain schools.

"This alliance with the authorities limits the Church's room for maneuver. The patriarch is the hostage to his relations with the authorities," said Boris Falikov of the Moscow-based Center for Comparative Religious Studies.

Several figures from the Orthodox Church have clearly expressed their hostility towards the opposition.

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the church's department for relations with society, openly welcomed the prospect of Putin returning to the Kremlin, saying it promised Russia "a long period of stability and removed all risk of a revolution".

Archimandrite Ilya, the spiritual father of the patriarch, went even further, describing the demonstrations against Putin as "a provocation by people who are trying to strew trouble in Russia."

He alleged the protestors were being paid to show up, repeating an allegation also made by Putin.

Yet other priests in the Russian Orthodox Church have used blogs and social networks to give a very different viewpoint.

"Saying that the protestors are being paid by the West and those who want to organize a revolution is very unfair. The people are protesting for moral reasons," wrote one Moscow priest, Alexei Uminsky, on the site Orthodoxy and the World.

The Orthodox Church, he said, must make clear it is "supporting the search for the truth and the refusal to live in falsehood."

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Re: Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church

Posted by Elkeeper on Mon Mar 5 10:51:51 2012, in response to Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church, posted by Olog-hai on Mon Mar 5 03:26:10 2012.

I know the story about St. Paul being knocked off of his horse and becoming a devout Christian. Athiest KGB Putin becoming an Orthodox Christian? Anyone know where he got knocked off of his horse?

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Re: Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church

Posted by Olog-hai on Mon Mar 5 12:58:35 2012, in response to Re: Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church, posted by Elkeeper on Mon Mar 5 10:51:51 2012.

About the same time that Charlemagne got knocked off his horse, of course . . .

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Re: Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church

Posted by Spider-Pig on Mon Mar 5 13:42:13 2012, in response to Re: Putin Winsówith support of Orthodox Church, posted by Elkeeper on Mon Mar 5 10:51:51 2012.

He's probably pandering.

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Putin Winsóhundreds of anti-Putin protesters locked up

Posted by Olog-hai on Tue Mar 6 00:56:47 2012, in response to Putin Wins, posted by SMAZ on Sun Mar 4 16:58:01 2012.


Hundreds of anti-Putin protesters detained in Russia

By Lidia Kelly and Alissa de Carbonnel
Mon Mar 5, 2012 4:37pm EST
MOSCOW (Reuters) ó Russian riot police detained more than 500 protesters including opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday at rallies challenging the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential election.

Putin, who secured almost 64 percent of the votes on Sunday, portrayed his return to the presidency as a triumph over opponents who were trying to usurp power, though international monitors said the vote was clearly skewed in his favor.

But opposition leaders said they drew 20,000 people into Moscow's Pushkin Square, the scene of dissident protests during Soviet times, to call for new elections and an opening up of the political system crafted by Putin during his 12-year rule.

"They robbed us," Navalny, a 35-year-old anti-corruption blogger, told the crowd before his detention. "We are the power," he said to chants of "Russia without Putin" and "Putin is a thief."

The atmosphere at the rally was jovial at first, but became tense when riot police in helmets moved in to disperse several thousand activists who stayed on the square.

Encircling one group of protest leaders huddled in a fountain closed down for winter, black-helmeted riot police detained Navalny and others and marched them to waiting police vans.

Opposition leaders said 500-1,000 people were detained but police put the number at 250 and said 14,000 people had attended the rally.

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said on Twitter that the arrests were troubling and that freedom of assembly and speech were universal values.

Thousands of Putin supporters staged rallies closer to the red walls of the Kremlin, singing songs, waving Russian flags and chanting Prime Minister Putin's name.

At least 300 people were detained by riot police at unsanctioned protests in the northern city of St Petersburg, Putin's home town, a police spokesman said. Up to 3,000 people turned out in St Petersburg, witnesses said.

Putin says he won a six-year term as Kremlin chief in a fair and open contest, but vote monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe echoed the opposition's complaints that the election had been slanted to help him.

"The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia," Tonino Picula, one of the vote monitors, said on Monday. "According to our assessment, these elections were unfair."

"Unfair" Vote

The U.S. State Department called for an "independent, credible" investigation into all reported violations.

The monitors said there had been some improvements from a parliamentary poll on December 4 which observers said was marred by irregularities, but said Putin still had an advantage over his rivals through massive media coverage and the use of state resources to help him extend his domination of Russia for six more years.

Although the observers' findings have no legal bearing, they undermine Russian election officials' statements that there were no serious violations.

They would also support some in their view that elections ultimately have little real significance in Russia; that power is tightly controlled and divided up by a largely stable ruling clique, as demonstrated by the 'tandem' power deal struck by Putin and current President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008.

Putin's opponents, fearing he will smother political and economic reforms, have refused to recognize the result, which could allow the former KGB spy to rule Russia for as long as Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, accused of presiding over "the years of stagnation."

"I used to love Putin, like any woman who likes a charismatic man. But now I think he is getting senile. Nobody can stay in power forever," Vasilisa Maslova, 35, who works in the fashion trade, said during the opposition rally.

"Voting yesterday, I felt like I was choosing the least dirty toilet in a crowded train station."

Protesters in Moscow held up banners reading "12 more years ó no thanks" and "We need a Russian president, not a leader for life."

Jailed Tycoon

In a conciliatory move, Putin invited his defeated presidential rivals to talks, although Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov did not attend.

The Kremlin also took steps that appeared intended to try to take the sting out of the protests which began over the December 4 poll won by Putin's United Russia party.

Medvedev, who will stay in office until early May, told the prosecutor general to study the legality of 32 criminal cases including the jailing of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky, who headed what was Russia's biggest oil company, Yukos, and was once the country's richest man, was arrested in 2003 and jailed on tax evasion and fraud charges after showing political ambitions and falling out with Putin.

The Kremlin said Medvedev had also told the justice minister to explain why Russia had refused to register a liberal opposition group, PARNAS, which has been barred from elections.

The order followed a meeting last month at which opposition leaders handed Medvedev a list of people they regard as political prisoners and called for political reforms.

Medvedev's initiatives "have only one goal: To at least somehow lower the scale of dismay and protest that continues to surge in society," Zyuganov said.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Grove, Maria Tsvetkova and Jennifer Rankin, writing by Timothy Heritage and Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Tim Pearce)

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Re: Putin Winsóhundreds of anti-Putin protesters locked up

Posted by SelkirkTMO on Tue Mar 6 03:29:42 2012, in response to Putin Winsóhundreds of anti-Putin protesters locked up, posted by Olog-hai on Tue Mar 6 00:56:47 2012.

Think of those rogues as being Russia's "Occupy" types and you can let it slide. Right?

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