Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has accused the US of encouraging protests against his government after its victory in the recent general election. Demonstrators claim the outcome was rigged, and both international observers and the US have expressed concerns about the vote.
In his first public comments on the daily protests Putin lashed out at Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. He said she had, in his words, “set the tone for (some) opposition activists (and) gave them a signal.”
The former president, who is now formally a candidate for the job once again, also said hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign funds were used to influence the vote.
The anti-Kremlin rallies have been among the biggest ever staged in Moscow, but there have also been pro-government demonstrations and Putin retains the support of much of the country.