No US involvement in Russian protests: Envoy

No US involvement in Russian protests: Envoy

 The US was not involved in any opposition rallies in Russia, Washington's ambassador Michael McFaul has said, as Moscow gave the go-ahead to a planned opposition march followed by a rally where 50,000 people will protest the results of the parliamentary elections.

"That's not true. People came there because they had something to say, not because the Americans did something. It's your affairs, not ours," RIA Novosti quoted McFaul as saying during a live show on Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Thousands of people took to the streets in December to protest suspected violations in favour of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in the parliamentary polls.
Soon after the elections, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Russian polls were "neither free nor fair". Putin responded to the criticism by saying that the protests had been encouraged by the US.

Meanwhile, an opposition march followed by a rally planned for Feb 4 has been given the go ahead, an official said Thursday.

Deputy Mayor Alexander Gorbenko said the approval came after a previously unsuccessful attempt by the opposition Jan 20 to claim another venue in Moscow for the demonstration.
The procession will be held in the Garden Ring, a circular avenue in the Russian capital's centre.

The city's Bolotnaya Square witnessed huge protests against alleged fraud in the Dec 4 State Duma elections.

In order to avoid accusations of electoral fraud in the coming presidential polls, Putin has said that 95,000 polling places in Russia will be equipped with webcams.
This will cost up to 15 billion rubles (around $490 million).