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Rallies, Protests Mark Russian Constitution Day


Demonstrators mark Constitution Day in Moscow (ITAR-TASS) December 12, 2006 -- Several thousand young supporters of the Kremlin-backed Unified Russia party marched in Moscow today and sang the national anthem to mark Constitution Day.


Earlier, police detained some 20 activists of the radical National Bolshevik Party who protested outside the lower house of parliament against recent changes to electoral legislation that they said increased the Kremlin's hold over political life.


The current Russian Constitution was passed at a referendum on December 12, 1993.


(ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Russia's Democratic Development

Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)

IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.


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