Putin slams Opposition, rejects poll review

Protesters have no clear aims, says Russian PM

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday belittled Russia’s protest movement as lacking any clear aims and rejected their demands for a review of the results of disputed parliamentary polls.

“They have no united programme, clear ways of reaching their aims --which are themselves not clear -- or people who could achieve something concrete,” Putin said in comments broadcast by state television. “And then you get a situation when people talk about delegitimising and devaluing everything that goes on in public life and above all elections,” he told a meeting of his All-Russian Popular Front that rallies support for him.

Putin is facing the biggest challenge of his 12-year domination of Russia as he heads into March 4 presidential elections after two mass protests against the conduct of allegedly rigged parliamentary polls.

He bluntly rejected reviewing the results of the disputed December 4 polls for the State Duma, lower house of parliament, but said he did not need any dirty “tricks” to win presidential elections next year.

“The elections are over. Parliament has started its work and a speaker elected. The State Duma is working... There can be no talk of any review,” Putin said. “There is only one way prescribed by law — an appeal to court,” he said.

Putin said it was necessary to lift any “insinuations” alleging that there would be fraud in the March 4 presidential polls.

“I, as one of the candidates, need no tricks. I want to have the will of the people and their trust. Without that there is no point in working,” he added.

The Russian strongman once against disparaged the protest movement, saying they were more interested in creating instability than achieving concrete aims.

“Of course, our country... always has, always had and always will have forces for whom what is important is not the development prospects, but constant Brownian motion,” he said, referring to the theory on the random movement of particles.

Putin ready for dialogue: Kudrin

Vladimir Putin is ready for a dialogue with the Russian protest movement to ensure that presidential polls are fair, his old ally and ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday, reports AFP from Moscow.

Kudrin told the Vedomosti daily that he met Putin --on the eve of Saturday’s mass rally in Moscow.
 

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