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Russia president orders probe into election fraud allegations

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] has ordered an investigation into allegations of fraud in the recent parliamentary elections. Medvedev posted a message to his Facebook page [website, in Russian] Sunday following massive protests [RIA Novosti] across Russia on Saturday. Medvedev said:

Under the Constitution, Russian citizens enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. People have a right to express their position, and they did that yesterday. Fortunately, everything proceeded within the bounds of the law. I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at the rallies. Nevertheless, I have given instructions to check all the complaints from the polling stations for compliance with the electoral legislation.
Protests are also planned for the next two weekends [Bloomberg report].

Despite the alleged voting fraud, the ruling United Russia [party website, in Russian] party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [official website; JURIST news archive] lost 77 seats in the State Duma [official website, in Russian], Russia's parliament, barely maintaining its majority. Last week, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) [official website] issued preliminary findings [JURIST report] that the Russian election was "characterized by frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulation." The US State Department [official website] and other world leaders have also called for an investigation into the allegations of election fraud and expressed concern over "harassment" of election monitoring groups.

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