As Russia Erupts, Gorbachev Steps In

More rallies expected for today
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2011 7:57 AM CST
Opposition activists, left, and members of pro-Kremlin youth movements scuffle during demonstrations in Triumphal Square in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

(Newser) – Mikhail Gorbachev is stepping into the fray, and urging Russian authorities to annul the results of Sunday's scandal-ridden elections and hold a new vote. His voice is joined by those of thousands of Russians who have taken to the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg since Monday, and Gorbachev warned that the unrest would only rise if new elections were not held, reports the AP. To wit, more rallies are expected today, and a protest scheduled for Saturday was announced on Facebook.

At least 51,500 police officers and 2,000 Interior Ministry troops have been deployed in Moscow since the election, and the New York Times reports that about 550 people have been detained since Monday. "More and more people are starting to believe that the election results are not fair," Gorbachev told Interfax. "I believe that ignoring public opinion discredits the authorities and destabilizes the situation." He added that authorities "must admit that there have been numerous falsifications and ballot stuffing." Putin, meanwhile, officially registered today to run for president, but the AP notes that the events of the past two days suggest his quest might not go as smoothly as expected.

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