The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Full Article
Images of March
Human-made earthquakes reported in central U.S
17 Apr 2012
UPDATE 1-US troops pose with maimed Afghan insurgent bodies
Illinois Mega Millions winner could face "lottery curse"
17 Apr 2012
Special Report: Chesapeake CEO took $1.1 billion in shrouded personal loans
More U.S. cities set to enter default danger zone
17 Apr 2012
Trayvon Martin’s killer showed signs of injury: neighbors
Obama paid 20.5 pct tax rate in 2011: White House
North Korea launches rocket amid international condemnation
Shuttle Discovery piggybacks over U.S. capital
Tue, Apr 17 2012
Police run over citizens during Peru protest
Tue, Apr 17 2012
Norway killer calls attack "sophisticated and spectacular"
Tue, Apr 17 2012
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Athletes around the world train for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics. Slideshow
Spanish families face eviction after being unable to pay their mortgages. Slideshow
Russia admits irregularities in regional vote after protests
Exxon, Rosneft to sign strategic deal: sources
Mon, Apr 16 2012
Russia's Putin calls for unity but opponents walk out
Wed, Apr 11 2012
Grisly death fuels tales of Russian police torture
Thu, Apr 5 2012
Russian plane crash kills 31, exposes safety record
Mon, Apr 2 2012
Obama seeks to defuse controversy on missile comments
Tue, Mar 27 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Make no entangling foreign frenemies
Three in a row: ‘Hunger Games’ leads box office
By Gleb Bryanski
Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:09pm EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia admitted on Wednesday that some irregularities had taken place in the course of a disputed mayoral election in a southern Russian city last month, after the victory of a pro-Kremlin candidate there set off a wave of anti-government protests.
The disputed election in Astrakhan has become a focus for the opposition as it tries to breathe new life into its protest movement which has lost steam since Vladimir Putin was elected president for a six-year term on March 4.
Street rallies against alleged electoral fraud and a prolonged hunger strike by a defeated opposition candidate have thrust the events in the otherwise sleepy Caspian city into the heart of Russia's political fray.
On Wednesday, Russia's top election official Vladimir Churov said there had been some irregularities after all.
"Unfortunately, I have to state that video footage showed some real procedural violations in handling documents after the polling stations' closure," Churov told the state Vesti 24 TV channel. "We will look into it very thoroughly."
Churov added however he had seen no evidence of fraud that could overturn the victory of Mikhail Stolyarov, a candidate from a pro-Kremlin party in the Astrakhan vote.
"In what I saw on Monday night I did not see any facts of falsifications, like shifting ballots from one pile to another, attempts to put something into the transparent ballot box and so on, there was nothing like this," Churov said.
Oleg Shein, the defeated opposition candidate, began the hunger strike along with his supporters on March 16, saying the vote had been rigged in favour of his rival. He has vowed not to eat until a new vote is held.
As the events unfolded, Astrakhan has turned into the latest staging point in the opposition's new strategy to chip away at Putin's authority through local polls in the regions.
Hundreds of activists from Moscow, the scene of recent anti-putin protests, have descended on the city in the Volga river delta to support Shein, a former parliament member from the opposition Just Russia party.
The Just Russia party faction walked out from parliament last week after Putin suggested that Shein take his case to court instead of staging a hunger strike.
In his public statements, the bespectacled and frail Shein has been careful not to attack Putin directly, blaming the situation on local authorities and Vyacheslav Volodin, the influential deputy head of the Kremlin administration.
Shein's supporters argue that results at polling stations equipped with electronic ballot boxes showed him running neck-to-neck with his rival, while his opponents say that the 30 percentage points lead was impossible to falsify.
Putin ordered the installation of video cameras at polling stations after the victory of his United Russia party in a December parliamentary vote was challenged by the opposition.
Churov said his conclusions on the Astrakhan vote will be published this week but added the final decision should be made by the court, due to hold its first hearing on Friday.
(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski Editing by Maria Golovnina)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.