Kremlin supporters prepare response rally to Saturday’s nationwide poll protests

The United Russia party expects up to 15,000 of its supporters to gather at the Moscow’s downtown Manezhnaya Square on Monday two days after dozens of thousands rallied at the biggest opposition protest at the Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square.

The authorized rally, called Glory To Russia, will be made up of members of the country’s pro-Kremlin youth movements, who will hold banners, saying: “We PUT IN our Votes!”, “We have voted! We have won!” both in Russian and English.

“We hope that the banners in English will help foreign journalists to understand our views so they will not need the obeisant ‘translators’ and interpreters from the opposition,” the press service of the Mestnye (The Locals) pro-Kremlin youth movement said.

The pro-Kremlin gathering comes two days after the biggest opposition protests against alleged electoral fraud in favor of the ruling United Russia that took place on December 10 across the country.

The United Russia party however dismissed the claims that the meeting is a response to the opposition protests.

“This meeting was planned long before the rally at the Bolotnaya Square, as part of the Consitution Day celebrations,” the head of the party’s Executive Committee, Andrei Vorobyov said, adding that the party members will deliver the speech about the development of democracy in Russia and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term.

Russia has celebrated Consitution Day since 1993 when the country’s constitution was adopted.

The Nashi (Ours) and the Stal (Steel) movements said that up to 7,000 of their supporters are expected to take part in the meeting.

The Mestnye and the Rossiya Molodaya (Young Russia) pledge to bring over 3,000 activists to the Manezhnaya Square.

The largest rally to demand a rerun of last weekend’s parliamentary polls and vent anger at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party was held on Saturday at the Bolotnaya Square in Moscow, bringing together 20,000 to 100,000 people, depending on who’s estimates you follow.

Organizers of the opposition rally said that protests will continue on December 24.

President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday dismissed most of the protesters’ demands.

“People have a right to express their position as they did yesterday. I disagree with slogans and claims announced at the rallies. Nevertheless, I have ordered a check into all complaints from polling stations,” Medvedev wrote in his Facebook, in a first reaction from the country’s leadership to the nationwide demonstrations.

However, over 3,000 Facebook members commented on his update, some supporting him but the vast majority criticising his comment, some asking what slogan or claim at Saturday’s rally he didn’t agree with, “fair elections?”

United Russia saw its share of the vote fall sharply in the December 4 polls, although it just managed to hang onto its parliamentary majority but opposition activists claim the party’s real figures were much lower.

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