Putin slams opposition, rejects poll review
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
A protester carries a poster with the words " I'm a human!" during a protest against alleged vote rigging in Russia's parliamentary elections on Sakharov avenue in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. AP PhotoPrime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday belittled Russia's protest movement as lacking any clear aims and rejected their demands for a review of the results of disputed parliamentary polls.
"They have no united programme, clear ways of reaching their aims -- which are themselves not clear -- or people who could achieve something concrete," Putin said in comments broadcast by state television.
"And then you get a situation when people talk about delegitimising and devaluing everything that goes on in public life and above all elections," he told a meeting of his All-Russian Popular Front that rallies support for him.
Putin is facing the biggest challenge of his 12-year domination of Russia as he heads into March 4 presidential elections after two mass protests against the conduct of allegedly rigged parliamentary polls.
He bluntly rejected reviewing the results of the disputed December 4 polls for the State Duma lower house of parliament, but said he did not need any dirty "tricks" to win presidential elections next year.
"The elections are over. The parliament has started its work and a speaker elected. The State Duma is working... There can be no talk of any review," Putin said.
"There is only one way prescribed by law -- an appeal to court," he said.
Putin said it was necessary to lift any "insinuations" alleging that there would be fraud in the March 4 presidential polls.
"I, as one of the candidates, need no tricks. I want to have the will of the people and their trust. Without that there is no point in working," he added.
The Russian strongman once against disparaged the protest movement, saying they were more interested in creating instability than achieving concrete aims.
"Of course, our country... always has, always had and always will have forces for whom what is important is not the development prospects, but constant Brownian motion," he said, referring to the theory on the random movement of particles.
"Do you remember the famous Trotsky slogan? 'Movement is everything, the ultimate goal nothing." But he added: "I will repeat again -- there are, were and always will be such people. They have the right to exist and I think that really, they should be treated with respect."