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Russian election: police, troops and youth groups stifle anti-Putin protests

Miriam Elder
London Guardian [1]
December 7, 2011

The Kremlin mobilised thousands of police, interior troops and pro-government youth groups on Tuesday night to crack down on protests against the rule of Vladimir Putin after elections that saw his party returned to power with a greatly reduced majority.

Riot police, clad in camouflage and black crash helmets, arrested around 250 people who had gathered at Moscow’s Triumphal Square in an attempt to build a wave of demonstrations following Sunday’s disputed parliamentary election, in which support for Putin’s United Russia party fell below 50%.

But the protesters were vastly outnumbered by pro-Kremlin youth activists, who converged on the square waving huge Russian flags and shouting “Medvedev, victory!” and “Putin, Russia!”.

It was the first time the youth group Nashi had been deployed for the purpose it was created – to put down pro-democracy protests similar to those that successfully swept post-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia in 2004 and 2005.

Full article here [1]