By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday in downtown Moscow in the latest protest against the rule of President-elect Vladimir Putin, who secured a third term in Sunday's election the opposition says was rigged.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held an unprecedented meeting Monday with opposition leaders, who said they were encouraged by his promises to make it easier for anti-Kremlin parties to take part in elections, but he was unwilling to meet protesters' main demands.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for reconciliation with Hamas, even if unity would cost him hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from Washington, which lists Hamas as a terrorist group, an aide said Monday.
MOSCOW — Six months before election season begins in Russia, the Kremlin is all but assured of resounding success in a climate that raises questions abroad about the country's democratic credentials but worries few ordinary Russians.
"The Duma that now adopts these kinds of laws is illegitimate. It was formed with the theft of 100 million votes," said opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov, a former Duma member who lost his seat when independent members were ousted in 2007. "It doesn't have the moral or political right to adopt laws for us. The disbanding of the Duma and the overturning of the law. That's why people, including me, came out today."
"There was no reason to legitimize them," prominent opposition figure Vladimir Ryzhkov said. "It's like the Nazis in the 1920s — they were marginal until they got support from politicians and businessmen, and it brought the whole of Europe to ruin."