Dec. 5 - Analysts say a weak showing for Putin's party in Russian elections signals growing weariness with his domination of Russian politics. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Thousands gather in central Moscow Monday decrying what they call a fraudulent parliamentary election, shouting "Revolution!" and calling for an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule. Opponents say even United Russia's official result -- just under 50 percent of the vote -- was inflated by fraud. Prominent Russian Blogger Alexei Navalny, saying (Russian): "What has he done all this time (in office)? He had colossal mandate of trust. They had the Duma, which they controlled, they had support, they had huge prices for oil. Now we look back and realize that we didn't get anything - not a reform of the police, not a reform of the army, not a battle with corruption. It's obvious that people who maybe two years ago, five years ago were supporters of Putin, fervent supporters of Putin - now they just say, 'Look buddy, we hired you to work, but you haven't done anything, that's why we don't support you.'" Putin had a different take on the election saying it was a vote for stability. Prominent Russian Blogger Alexei Navalny, saying (Russian): , saying (Russian): "United Russia in recent years has been a significant part of the foundation of our political stability, so its successful performance in the election was important not just for the government but, in my view, for the whole country. I want to, first of all, thank all of you who participated in this work. United Russia kept the majority in the state Duma for itself. This allows (us) to do excellent work in peace." Amid reports of irregularities at the polls and suspicions of cyber attacks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern about the vote on the sidelines of an Afghan conference in Germany U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying (English): "Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all reports of electoral fraud and manipulation and we hope, in particular, that the Russian authorities will take action on the recommendations" The result was Putin's worst election setback since he came to power 12 years ago. Analysts say it signals growing weariness with his domination of Russian politics as he prepares to reclaim the presidency in an election next March. Although Putin is still likely to win a presidential election, the result could dent the authority of the man who has ruled with a mixture of hardline security policies, political acumen and showmanship. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.