Russia Protests: Dozens Of Arrests As Opposition Dispute Putin's Presidential Victory

Moscow Protest

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 5/03/2012 17:16 Updated: 5/03/2012 17:22

Police have made dozens of arrests in Moscow as crowds gathered to protest Vladimir Putin's landslide victory in the country's presidential elections.

The protest outside the central election commission was organised by the Other Russia movement.

National Bolshevik Party leader Eduard Limonov was arrested at the protest, along with about 50 supporters, Moscow police said in a statement.

The party claimed the number of arrests was as high as 100.

Many of the demonstrators claimed that the official tally was some way off the real result, and that Putin should have faced a run-off in a second round of voting.

However Sky News reported that the protests were "lacklustre" and did not have the same feeling of momentum as the widespread protests in December which followed claims of voter fraud during parliamentary polls.

Protests and arrests were also reported in St Petersburg.

Sunday's presidential election, which Putin won with around 64% of the vote, was "clearly skewed" in favour of the United Russia leader according to the independent Organisation for Security and Co-operation.

Tonino Picula, the special co-ordinator to lead the short-term observer mission said there were "serious problems" and "irregularities" in the election.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) is one of the world’s largest regional security organisation with 56 states from across the globe as members.

Picula said: "There were serious problems from the very start of this election. The point of elections is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia. There was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt."

In a statement the OSCE said Putin had a "clear advantage" over his competitors in terms of media presence.

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