Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected demands for a rerun of the December 4 election to Parliament and accused the growing protest movement of lacking constructive goals and leaders.
“The elections are over… The State Duma is working. There can be no talk of any review, except through the only way prescribed by law — an appeal to court,” said Mr. Putin.
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Moscow on Saturday to demand annulment of what they consider the rigged parliamentary poll won by Mr. Putin's party, United Russia. In his first comment on the rally, Mr. Putin said the protesters were guided by Leon Trotsky's slogan “movement is everything, the ultimate goal is nothing”.
“They have no united programme.., no clear ways of reaching their aims, which are not clear even to them, no people who could achieve something concrete,” Mr. Putin told a meeting of the All-Russian Popular Front that rallies support for him in his bid to reclaim presidency in the March 2012 election.
Mr. Putin called for making the coming presidential election fully transparent to avoid accusations of fraud from those who are bent on “devaluing and undermining the legitimacy of everything that happened in the public sphere, including and most of all, the electoral process”.
Mr. Putin effectively refuted the claim by his ally, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, that the Prime Minister was ready for dialogue with the opposition.
President Dmitry Medvedev last week promised a reform of the electoral legislation but the concessions failed to dampen protests. Opposition leaders have vowed to bring out hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to the streets of Moscow in February.
Keywords: Russia Parliament election