Accusations of vote rigging following the Russian parliamentary elections have unified Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s diverse enemies, causing the largest opposition rallies for years.
Despite this, Putin has now signed the documents to officially register himself as a presidential candidate and will stand as the representative of United Russia in elections expected next March.
His party won a slim majority in the parliamentary polls but the result continues to be a source of controversy, with many opposition parties crying foul.
Grigory Yavlinsky, the Yabolko Party leader, said it is clear the results were changed due to discrepancies between the online data and the final result:
“This time our results were falsely lowered by several times at certain polling stations. As a whole, our results were more than halved. We know our precise results in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and they are around 20%. It is very easy to see this in all the internet protocols. At many of the polling stations in Moscow we won.”
Following the elections there have been rallies in many Russian cities. Some of them were pro-Kremlin, organised by the youth group Nashi, in an apparent attempt to raise the spirits of United Russia following a decline in support.
However it is the opposition movement that seems to be going from strength to strength, with many first time protesters getting involved. Some say this is due to their frustration at a system of government which they fear they have little power to change.