A Russian Spring is coming, according to long-time U.S. Senator John McCain.
On Dec. 5, McCain, who has over 1.7 million Twitter followers, tweeted: Dear Vlad, The #ArabSpring is coming to a neighborhood near you, citing the following Wall Street Journal article.
Hours ago, he tweeted: The Post agrees: 'Spring in the Russian air,' citing the following Washington Post article.
McCain has long been critical of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has dominated Russian politics for the past decade.
Back in 2007, the Arizona Senator said he saw three letters in Putin's eyes: a K, a G, and a B, referring to Putin's past affiliation with the Soviet Union secret police group.
After protesters overthrew the governing Egyptian regime earlier in 2011, McCain said the following in a CBS interview: these winds of change that are blowing, I think I would be a little less cocky in the Kremlin with my KGB cronies today if I were [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin.
The events of the past few days in Russia may be beginning to prove McCain's warnings right.
Over the weekend, the official Russian parliamentary election results saw the reigning United Russia party, dominated by Putin, give up a substantial number of seats. However, the party still maintained a comfortable lead and a majority.
Opposition parties claim a fair election would see United Russia lose more seats.
Russian activist Yegor Duda filmed what he claims to a chairman of the electoral commission filling out ballots (which would obviously be election fraud), according to the New York Times.
His video,uploaded on YouTube, has become viral and received over 1 million views so far.
Another video, below, claims to capture an instance of ballot stuffing. It has received over 700,000 views so far.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a regional security organization, also alleged the unfair practices of prior denial of registration to certain parties, partial media coverage and unduly interference from state authorities.
It also alleged serious indications of ballot box stuffing.
On Monday and Tuesday, Russian protesters took to the streets against the alleged election fraud.
Government authorities cracked down on these protesters, resulting in the arrest of 300 people on Monday and 250 people on Tuesday, reported the New York Times, citing Interfax news service.
Below are pictures of the protest, showing clashes between opposition protesters and the police and pro-government protesters (photos from Reuters):