A group entitled “United Russia for fair elections” has been launched on Facebook on the behalf of Russia’s largest political party amid a wave of protests against the alleged fraud in its favor in last week’s parliamentary polls.
“We, United Russia members, call for fair elections!” a post on the group’s Facebook page reads. “We are against falsifications and manipulations… We fair and decent people… are annoyed at being stigmatized by our political opponents as [our] party stays silent. We call for ridding the party of corrupt members, impostors, cinical careerists and puppets.”
As of Monday afternoon, some 70 people had joined the group, which is administrated by Olga Kryshtanovskaya, the leader of United Russia’s Liberal Club group of members.
In one of her posts, Kryshtanovskaya wrote that United Russia was “interested more than anyone else to have legitimate and fair elections,” and that “those guilty of falsifications should be found and punished.”
United Russia, backed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, lost its tight grip on parliament in the December 4 elections while still winning enough votes to keep a majority and to be able to pass legislation without seeking approval from other parties.
Popular protests against what many view as wide-spread election fraud in favor of United Russia have been held across the country over the past week, culminating in a major rally in central Moscow on Saturday, which gathered some 25,000 people, according to official estimates, or up to 40,000 protesters, according to unofficial accounts.
The protesters have called for new elections or a recount of the votes, as well as for the dismissal of Central Election Commission chief Vladimir Churov.
Kryshtanovskaya wrote in her post that if Churov “allowed” the grounds for vote fraud allegations to appear, he “must step down immediately.”
She also proposed that those willing to vote openly “in order to be able to see what happened to their votes,” be given this opportunity.
Medvedev wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday that he disagreed with the slogans and demands of the protesters but urged all alleged violations during the polls to be investigated.