Putin dismisses opposition protests

2012-03-06 23:00

kalahari.com

Moscow - Vladimir Putin rejected opposition protests against his presidential election victory on Tuesday and his Foreign Ministry ruled out any softening of Moscow's stance on Syria, a strong indication that the Russian leader has no intention of easing tough policies either at home or abroad.

The harsh statements came after helmeted riot police forcefully broke up Monday's opposition attempt to occupy a down town square in a challenge to Putin's victory; they arrested about 250 people who were later released.

Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov defended the police action, saying that it showed a "high level of professionalism, legitimacy and effectiveness," comments signalling that the government would show no hesitation to use force again on protesters.

Putin, president from 2000 to 2008 before becoming prime minister due to term limits, won more than 63% of Sunday's vote. The opposition and independent observers said the election was marred by massive fraud, including so-called "carousel voting" in which bus loads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times.

Putin on Tuesday shrugged off opposition claims of rampant vote fraud as irrelevant. "It's an element of political struggle, it has no relation to the election," he said.

His campaign has been laced with anti-Americanism, including claims that the US had instigated the opposition protests in order to weaken Russia - strident rhetoric that resonated well with his core support base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees.

He can be expected to continue the same tough policies he has pursued as prime minister, including opposing US plans to build a missile shield in Europe and resisting international military intervention in Syria.

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dealt a blow to Western hopes that Moscow might drop its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying firmly that it sees no reason to change its stance.

"We are deeply convinced that we are right," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters. "That is why we call on our partners not to adopt a hard-line stance, but to seek compromise, stimulate negotiations and a political process."

West's fault

Russia has protected Assad from United Nations sanctions over his crackdown on protests and accused the West of fuelling the conflict by backing the Syrian opposition.

Moscow has warned it will block any UN resolution that could pave the way for a replay of what happened in Libya, where Nato action helped oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Putin himself last week chided the West for refusing to demand that Assad's opponents pull out from the besieged cities along with government troops to end bloodshed, saying that it's the West, not Russia, that should be blamed for the continuing violence.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also lashed out on Tuesday at European election monitors, who reported serious problems in the election, including questionable vote counting and a campaign environment strongly skewed toward Putin.

A ministry statement called the mission's conclusions "prejudiced and disputable".

The ministry fumed at US Ambassador Michael McFaul, who voiced concern about Monday's crackdown, tweeting: "Troubling to watch arrests of peaceful demonstrators at Pushkin square. Freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are universal values."

The ministry shot back: "The police action was far more gentle than what we have seen during the dispersal of Occupy Wall Street protests and tent camps in Europe."

- AP
Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia  |  russia elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.