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Opposition rallies again in Moscow

Opposition rallies again in Moscow
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Russians have been back on the streets of Moscow, although in far smaller numbers than last weekend’s mass demonstrations over electoral fraud.

The liberal Yabloko party rally drew a crowd of up to 3,000.

Their leader, Grigory Yavlinsky, is expected to be nominated as a presidential candidate on Sunday.

The Communist party was also meeting on Saturday. It unanimously picked Gennardy Zyuganov to run for president in what will be the veteran leader’s fourth stab at the Kremlin.

The Communists doubled their vote in this month’s election to 20 per cent but have not backed protesters’ claims of ballot fixing.

Instead Zyuganov has accused some organisations of being in the pay of American oligarchs.

After being picked as candidate, he said the world was being ruled by international financial capital – an era he said began with the fall of the Soviet Union.

And he described the current economic system as “financial imperialism”.

Zyuganov has also attacked the role swapping between President Dimitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who is expected to return to the top job in March’s vote.

But Putin’s United Russia Party saw its two thirds majority in the Duma slashed to just 13 seats at the beginning of the month.

Despite dismissing the growing number of protests, Putin has announced plans to put webcams in all polling stations, following reports of widespread irregularities.

Russian activists posted videos on social media sites apparently showing incidents of fraud.

The size of next Saturday’s rally will be an indicator of whether or not Putin’s managed to do enough to defuse public anger.

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