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Russia's Medvedev Rejects Demand For New Vote, Orders Inquiry Into Fraud Claims

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he disagrees with demands made at nationwide protests for a rerun of parliamentary elections.

But Medvedev said on his Facebook account on December 11 that he had nevertheless asked officials to look into reports of possible violations at polling stations during the December 4 vote.

The ruling United Russia party won nearly half of the votes in the election amid allegations of fraud and vote-rigging.

On December 10, tens of thousands of people gathered in Moscow alone, calling for fresh parliamentary elections. Large demonstrations were also seen in St. Petersburg, as well as the country's third-largest city of Novosibirsk, and the Urals industrial city of Chelyabinsk.

Boris Nemtsov, a former cabinet minister turned opposition leader, dismissed Medvedev's Facebook message as "a mockery."

Within hours of his statement, Medvedev had received several thousand comments on his Facebook site, most of them negative.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is seen as almost certain to return as president in March, made no comment on the weekend protests.

A statement by his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, gave no hint of concessions, saying only "we are hearing what is being said and we will continue to listen."

compiled from agency reports