Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rejected accusations of election fraud and warned the opposition against efforts to destabilize the country with the help of foreign countries.
Putin, 59, who is facing unrest over accusations of ballot-rigging in a 4 December parliamentary vote, compared the protests to Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. In a televised phone-in show on Thursday, he said organizers of a 10 December rally in Moscow had paid students to attend and he warned against schemes to destabilize society.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (centre).
“We know the Orange Revolution in Ukraine—some of our opposition leaders were in Ukraine at the time and were working officially as advisers to Yushchenko,” Putin said, referring to the street protests in Kiev that overturned presidential-election results and brought opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to power. “They are transferring these tactics to Russia.”
“For me it’s clear these attacks about the recent elections have an ongoing character—the main aim is the next elections, presidential elections, Putin said. “We need to make sure there aren’t any problems here, to minimize the chance for people to point to these elections as unfair...”