Jan. 21 - Russian communists call for free and fair elecitons ahead of presidential polls on March 4. Jessica Gray reports.
Hundreds of Russian communist party members queue in Moscow. They are attending a rally marking the 88th anniversary of the death of Vladimir Lenin, the soviet state's founder. The Communist rally, supported by other opposition groups called for fair and transparent elections ahead of presidential polls in March. Presidential hopeful and communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov vowed to prevent Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party from vote rigging. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER GENNADY ZYUGANOV "They (Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling party) cannot get more than 30 to 35 percent of votes, the rest will be swindling, rigging and theft. That's why we have now gathered 300,000 monitors and are inviting 200,000 allies to prevent any chance of stealing (votes) at all polling stations." Earlier, Russian communists inked a deal with opposition party Left Front to form a coalition, jointly supporting Zyuganov as their candidate. Putin is set to win the elections, however, his popularity is waning in the wake of mass protests and vote rigging allegations. Jessica Gray, Reuters