President Dmitry Medvedev says alleged vote fraud in Russian parliamentary elections that led to major protests will be investigated .
Medvedev told reporters Thursday — after meeting Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus — that the law may have been violated during Sunday's vote, because "our electoral law is not ideal."
He called for Russians to remain calm during any inquiry, adding that "experts, not ordinary people" would investigate.
Stalin once famously observed that its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes. "Experts," my ass.
This statement by Medvedev comes on the heels of, well, almost neo-con-like charges from once and future Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US and in particular, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were fomenting unrest among the populace:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday, accusing her of encouraging and funding Russians protesting election fraud, and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on dissent.
By describing Russia's parliamentary election as rigged, Putin said Clinton "gave a signal" to his opponents.
"They heard this signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began their active work," Putin said in televised remarks. He said the United States is spending "hundreds of millions" of dollars to influence Russian politics with the aim of weakening a rival nuclear power.
I speak fluent Russopolispeak too, so let me translate: "The sheeple noticed? Holy crap! Who can I blame?"
Let me sum up events for you quickly, to comprehend what happened here: the United Russian party (basically, the former KGB-sponsored political arm) held something like 70 percent of the seats in the Russian Duma after the 2007 elections. After the 2011 elections, the margin was narrowed considerably, and the actual results, discounting any fraud as claimed, may show Putin losing the Duma completely.
Since he planned on running for President in 2012, this would effectively scuttle his presidency, win, lose, or draw.
And so now you understand why there's some resistance to the official results, despite Medvedev's claim that the results are in line with polling done before the election (which you might expect...indeed, it's how closely the results hew to that polling that make me sit up and take notice.)
There is to be a rally in Moscow on Saturday, for which the Moscow police have issued a permit for 300 people. More than 17,000 have pledged on Facebook to attend.
Muscovite officials have said strong police action will be triggered if more than 300 show up. If 17,000 show up, then I would imagine all bets are off.
It will be interesting, over the next few days, to watch the rabid anti-Occupy forces spin trying to reconcile support for what may be violent Russian dissidence while mocking and deriding peaceful, non-violent domestic protests.