Share & Connect
Boris Gryzlov, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is stepping down from his post as speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, their political party said on Wednesday. However, he will keep his executive position in Putin’s United Russia party.
Gryzlov resigned after fraud allegations came out during the parliamentary elections in early December. These allegations gave way to the biggest anti-government protests seen in twenty years. Gryzlov believes he achieved a lot of what he set out to do during his eight years in the Duma. He plans to continue leading the political party’s supreme council and stated that he is, “ready to accept a post determined by the president.”
The candidate that will be Gryzlov’s replacement will be nominated next Saturday. Tens of thousands of people protested against the results of the election on Saturday that brought Putin’s United Russia party to power again. There was an estimated 25,000 protesters in Moscow, the police said, but organizers said there were 40,000.
Whether the police are correct or the organizers, either number would qualify as the largest protest in the Russian capital in two decades. The protesters believe the election results were rigged and were not afraid to protest in freezing temperatures in other Russian cities as well.
They shouted, “Putin out!” Another protest is scheduled to occur on Christmas Eve, December 24, which will be three days after the new parliament holds its first session. After a day of protests, President Dmitry Medvedev said he wanted the allegations to be investigated. The statement on his Facebook page read, “I agree neither with the slogans nor the statements voiced at the protests.
Nevertheless, I have ordered checks into all the reports from polling stations, regarding the compliance with the election laws.” Many people criticized his post on Facebook. “It’s awful,” Elena Panina wrote. “Really. He was drunk when he wrote that, or he didn’t read what he wrote. … What slogans does our president disagree with? ‘We are for fair elections?’”
Some pro-government demonstrators came out on Monday, but their numbers were not as vast as the protesters that showed during the weekend. Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire that owns the New Jersey Nets basketball team, announced on Monday that he will run for president of Russia next year.
There was some speculation as to whether he was going to run with the Kremlin’s tactic backing, to make people believe that there was a real contest for president, or whether he genuinely wants to defeat Putin.