Dec. 6 - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says government will be reshuffled after presidential poll, as security is heightened in Moscow. Nick Rowlands reports.
Security is tight in Moscow ahead of anticipated demonstrations by opposition groups claiming Sunday's parliamentary elections were rigged. Several thousand Russians took to the streets on Monday night to demand an end to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's rule, amidst accusations the elections were fraudulent. Opposition leader Ilya Yashin was sentenced to 15 days in jail for his part in the protest, and opposition blogger Alexei Navalny also appeared in court. Both detainees were denied access to lawyers. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) VADIM KOBSEV, LAWYER FOR ALEXEI NAVALNY, SAYING: "It's completely illegal as in this situation a person has the right to the help of a lawyer from the moment when the legal process against him began, from the point when he is detained, this happened yesterday at about nine, nine-thirty in the evening and what's more, although I was nearby the whole time I was not allowed in to see Alexei." Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin says if he wins the March 4th presidential election, he will shake up the government. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYING: "In the next stage after the presidential elections is the formation of the government and of course as we have said repeatedly, there will be a serious and significant renewal of personnel in the government." Putin's ruling party won only about half of the votes cast in the parliamentary election, and saw its majority cut to 13 seats - the biggest electoral upset of his 12-year rule. The Kremlin says the elections were fair, but the United States expressed "serious concerns" over the way the vote was conducted, and international observers claimed "serious indications of ballot box stuffing." Nick Rowlands, Reuters