Russia’s former leader installed a successor. The high voter turnout is a sham. The Russian government has been arresting pro-democracy activists as a response:
More than 300 riot police, sometimes using batons, detained scores of activists and dragged protesters to police buses, Reuters reporters at the scene said.
Some of the protesters lit flares spreading scarlet smoke across the square in central Moscow, screaming “your election is a farce” and “Fascists! Fascists!”
“It is my duty to come down here and express my opposition after these pre-planned and falsified elections,” Yelizaveta, a protester in her 50s, told Reuters as riot police arrested people around her. “Now they are dragging us away one by one.”
Putin’s plans to work with chosen puppet Medvedev are looking more like a different sort of relationship:
Medvedev had more than 70 percent of the vote with 97 percent of the precincts counted, according to the Central Election Commission. He is expected to rule in concert with his mentor, an arrangement that could see Putin calling the shots despite his constitutionally subordinate position as Russia’s prime minister.
The rest of the world can see this election exactly for what it is:
The head of the only major Western monitoring group that sent a team to Russia to observe Sunday’s presidential election severely criticized the process Monday, drawing a furious rebuttal from the country’s Central Election Commission.
Officials in Washington and Western European capitals, meanwhile, expressed muted disappointment with the conduct of the vote as well as hope that the new presidency would bring a shift in ideas and better relations with their governments.
“We think there is not freedom in this election,” said Andreas Gross of the Western monitoring group, after Dmitry Medvedev, President Vladimir Putin‘s handpicked successor, scored an officially tabulated win of more than 70 percent of the vote.
The election was a fraud against the Russian people. The Russian government’s sharp departure from democracy, in concert with its relatively recent history of attacking opposition journalists and business people, means the former super power is in for a very rocky ride. And we are bound to find ourselves dragged alongside them.