Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev decried recent Russian parliamentary elections, saying they were rife with fraud and demanding a new vote, the BBC reported Wednesday. The main international observer mission in Russia said
After rallies against the election results drew thousands in Moscow, Gorbachev called on Russia's leaders to admit election fraud and said that the "people's will" was not reflected in the results. "The country's leaders must admit there were numerous falsifications and rigging and the results do not reflect the people's will," the BBC quoted him as saying.
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Gorbachev, 80, warned that public discontent with the results is growing, and that the Kremlin's unwillingness to deal with that fact will only work to "discredit the authorities" and increase protests.
Russian elections earlier in the week produced another majority for Vladamir Putin's United Russia party, albeit a smaller one than in previous years.
Monday that the parliamentary election was unfairly slanted in favor of
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling party and marred by
apparent manipulations including ballot box stuffing.
The campaign for Sunday's election was marked by "limited political
competition and a lack of fairness," observers from the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe's
parliamentary assembly said.
The vote count "was characterized by frequent procedural violations and
instances of apparent manipulation, including several serious
indications of ballot box stuffing," the monitors said in their
The allegations were followed by rebukes by international leaders claiming that the elections were fixed. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday
that polling was "neither free nor fair", and added that "when
authorities fail to prosecute those who attack people for exercising
their rights or exposing abuses, they subvert justice and undermine the
people's confidence in their governments."
Also Tuesday, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said that
"reports of procedural violations [in Russian elections], such as lack
of media impartiality, lack of separation between party and state, and
the harassment of independent monitoring attempts, are of serious