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Monday
Dec122011

Russian President Responds to Protests over Elections on Facebook

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev went on Facebook Sunday to answer the tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets in cities all across the country calling for new elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In a post on his Facebook page, Medvedev dismissed the demonstrators’ complaints, but said he has called for an investigation of the parliamentary elections last week, which demonstrators and independent observers said were riddled with fraud.

“Under the Constitution, citizens of Russia have freedom of speech and freedom of Assembly. People have a right to express their position, which they did yesterday,” Medvedev’s short post said. “Well, that all took place within the framework of the law. I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at the rallies. Nevertheless, I have given an order to investigate all correspondence from polling stations regarding compliance with election law.”

Among the thousands of responses, most were derisive of the president and his statement.

“Doesn’t the president of Russia agree with the slogan 'For honest elections'?" one wrote.

Another said, “A stuffed clown, not a president.”

Political analysts also expressed surprise that Medvedev would respond in such an apparently informal manner to the largest public demonstration in Moscow since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The protests were remarkable not only for their size and peacefulness, but for the range of participants: There were people of all ages and the entire political spectrum of opposition to the current government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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