other countries' embarrassments

Putin Thinks Any Potential Election Fraud Is Not a Big Deal

Riot police detain a Russian opposition activist taking part in an unauthorized rally, on Triumfalnaya Square in central Moscow, late on December 6, 2011. Opposition leaders defied the Russian authorities today by organizing a second mass protest in two days against Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule, despite warnings of a police crackdown and the jailing of one of the organizers.
Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images/2011 AFP

After a weekend of large-scale protests across Russia demanding the ousting of Vladimir Putin and a re-do on the recent, closely contested election that left his ruling party in power, Putin has responded by thumbing his nose at it all. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, responded to the charges of election fraud with a shrug, even after President Dmitry Medevev promised to look into vote-fixing this weekend. “Even if you add up all this so-called evidence, it accounts for just over 0.5 per cent of the total number of votes,” Peskov told AFP. “So even if hypothetically you recognise that they are being contested in court, then in any case, this can in no way affect the question of the vote’s legitimacy or the overall results.” So illegitimate votes are totally legitimate if you can’t prove they aren’t most of the votes? To put it in terms the Russians might appreciate: Perhaps this is to democracy what marshmallow fluff Smirnoff is to real vodka. *

Putin Thinks Potential Fraud Is Not a Big Deal