The LA Times reported that in Moscow and St. Petersburg this Monday, hundreds of protesters were kidnapped by agents of the state. The protesters claimed that Vladimir Putin nefariously manipulated the results of the election resulting in his win. They demand his immediate resignation.
Agents of the state hovered close to the ground in helicopters while others occupied the streets. The protesters endured sub-zero temperatures and blasted the popular Russian song, “My state is a thief, a dirty and cynical thief,” while the crowd sang, “Putin is a thief!”
Russian election observers reported election fraud ranging from the typical to the bizarre: voters bussed from one polling station to another, names added to lists of eligible voters on election day, people voting at work where their bosses tell them which boxes to check, plus a multitude of votes coming from people registered as living in a vacant building next to the polling station.
Two staff members for another candidate claimed to have been beaten up while writing out a complaint about the transparency of the process.
One of the men, Eldar Dadin, said, “They hit me and my friend several times and dragged us outside.” The LA times reports, “In the street, he tried to break away, but the men choked him to the point where he nearly passed out, and then pushed the two observers into a car.”
Dadin continued, “When I realized they were taking us out of town I got real scared and for a moment thought they would kill us,” but in fact the men were dropped off inside a deserted construction site outside town and told not to return.
In Moscow, state agents scattered the crowd of 20,000 by arresting over 250 people in Pushkin Square and over 50 people, including member of the opposition Eduard Limonov, in front of the Federal Security Service building. The same tactic was used to bring an end to the rally in St. Petersburg when state agents arrested over 300 people.
The sign reads, “Putin, let corruption take you!” (Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP/Getty Images / March 5, 2012)