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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

McCain warns Putin of 'Arab spring'

Kremlin and Saint Basil'sTweets of warning are in the air as US Senator John McCain, former presidential candidate and Russia skeptic, told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to watch out for an "Arab Spring."

"Dear Vlad, the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you," McCain wrote after United Russia, which backs Putin for president in upcoming elections, suffered an unexpectedly low return in the polls after Sunday's State Duma elections. Putin will stand for president in March next year. Mass demos around Moscow since the election have protested alleged electoral fraud, even with the low numbers for United Russia. The party won just over 50 percent of seats, less than 2007's return of just over two thirds and a constitutional majority.

File Photo of John McCain with American Flag Blurred in BackgroundPutin critic

McCain has never pulled his punches for Putin and called the Prime Minister a "dictator" in an interview with the BBC in October, despite Putin's theoretical position as No. 2. He is still touted as the senior policy maker in the ruling tandem of himself and President Dmitry Medvedev.

Depending on the presidential elections in March, which Putin is expected to win, he is to swap places with the current president and return to power, potentially until 2024.

File Photo of Vladimir Putin
file photo
"I think dictators all over the world, including Russia... Maybe even Mr. Putin... are maybe a little bit more nervous," McCain told the BBC after former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by Libyan opposition and NATO forces and as Russia's Duma race began to hot up.

Russian spring?

He said, "I think it's the spring not just the Arab Spring," as the wave of unrest, that spread across much of the Middle East and ousted governments, was called.

"I cannot predict an armed uprising or anything like that but I can certainly see significant protest in a lot of countries," he added.

Despite the low turnout for the ruling party on Sunday significant protests have taken place in Moscow and other Russian cities, prompting firm action from riot police and promises of counter protests from pro-Kremlin supporters. Pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi promises a 15,000 strong rally on Manezh Square on Tuesday evening.


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