Hundreds protest in Moscow claiming Russia’s election was rigged

Hundreds gathered in protest in Moscow saying the Russian parliamentary election was rigged.

The approximately 400 protesters organized by the Communist Party say the pro-Kremlin United Russia party rigged the online ballot, The Associated Press reported

Online balloting made up around 2 million votes in Moscow in an election that gave the United Russia party more than two-thirds majority in parliament, enough to change the constitution. 

The Communist Party said 60 of its activists were arrested before the protest, with many released after a couple of hours. There were no arrests at the protest itself. 

The United Russia party took 324 seats out of 450 in the election. The Communist Party received 57 seats, and three other parties claimed the rest, according to the AP.

Many in Russia are saying the election was rigged, with top opposition leader Alexey Navalny saying it did not surprise him that “Putin forged the results.”

The Russian government cracked down on opposition leaders and media in the months leading up to the election. The government labeled Navalny’s organization an extremist group and banned anyone who was ever associated with the group from running for office.

Tech companies such as Google and Apple also complied with Russia’s demand to take down a voting app associated with Navalny that promoted opposition leaders. 

“If something surprised me in the latest elections, it was not how Putin forged the results, but how obediently the almighty Big Tech turned into his accomplices,” Navalny said last week. 

Russia has said the crackdown against opposition groups may ramp up now that the election is over. 

“The non-systemic opposition (Navalny’s allies) crossed a red line a while ago. What they were doing was using provocations and all methods to try to stir up social unrest,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“Naturally, any authorities would adopt as tough a position as possible to that. The aim is to maintain stability in society. There is no place for lawlessness and we are ready to force people to obey the law,” he added. “This is not connected to the Duma (parliament) elections. This is our line and it will continue to be our line.” 

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