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Europe alarmed by events in Russia

Mikhail Gorbachev Calls for Russian Election "Re-Do"
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BRUSSELS, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The arrest of demonstrators in Russia and a lack of fairness at polling stations are developments that are very disappointing, a European leader said.

Russia had elections for State Duma during the weekend. The Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe noted Russians were able to make their political views heard through the ballot box but the election was skewed largely in favor of the ruling United Russia party.

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European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said it was unfortunate that competition and fairness were limited in last weekend's elections.

Buzek said Moscow should release opposition leaders who had been detained.

"I am alarmed by the lack of independence and partiality of the media as well as the frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulations during the vote count," he added in statements Wednesday.

The BBC reported Wednesday that very few television channels in Russia broadcast reports on opposition protests in the country. Newspapers, however, are reporting freely about the political violence, which the British broadcaster suggests is an indication the tables are turning on Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party.

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Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, meanwhile, said Wednesday the elections should be held again because the weekend vote was marred by fraud.

Police detained more than 600 people since Sunday's election

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